Rural Hub

A quick guide to Defra’s Landscape Recovery Scheme

3 mins

Defra has shared details of its Landscape Recovery Scheme pilot – the ‘top tier’ of the three different Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes in development.

The Landscape Recovery Scheme will be available in England to support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term (20 years +), land use change projects, including projects to restore wilder landscapes.

When the scheme is fully up and running in 2024 it will focus on:

  • Large-scale forest and woodland creation, restoration and improvement
  • Restoring ecosystems, including native species and restoring rivers and streams
  • Peatland restoration
  • Creation and restoration of coastal habitats such as wetlands and salt marsh.

However, the first wave of pilot projects will focus on just two themes:

  • Recovering and restoring threatened native species (birds and insects)
  • Restoring streams and rivers.

Defra is aiming to deliver Landscape Recovery projects at a large-scale, so it is looking for 10 sites ranging from 500ha to 5,000ha for the pilot scheme.

Applications can be made by individual landowners or land managers, or collaborative groups, including individuals and organisations who have land joined in some way, for example along a stream.

Whole holdings will not need to be entered into an agreement. Tenants are likely to require consent from their landlord to take part.

Payment options under Landscape Recovery

Funding will be available for project development, to help cover the costs of baseline data collection, engaging with stakeholders, putting in place governance agreements and obtaining relevant consents and permissions.

Land managers will also negotiate long-term funding to support the delivery of changes on the ground.

Agreements will be bespoke and individually negotiated, with the land manager(s) deciding what they want to do and be paid for.

Projects will also be able to blend the public money on offer, with payments from private investors.  Defra is open to ideas on how this can be done and has given the following examples:

Area-based funding Defra pays for delivery on some parcels. Private funding pays for others.
Match funding Defra pays for a certain % of costs.  Private funding pays the balance.
Intermediary model An intermediary pays the project to deliver ‘outcomes’ that the intermediary owns and can sell (to Defra or other organisations).
First / final investor Defra could be the ‘first’ investor, with others coming in later.

Potential projects under Landscape Recovery

Defra has shared the following examples of the sort of projects that might attract funding under Landscape Recovery:

  Potential actions Benefits from the project
Plant large scale woodland
Re-wet peatland
Appropriate grazing to create habitats for priority species
Restore eroded rights of way and create new ones
Carbon capture and storage
Water quality
Living flood plain Re-meander rivers and streams
Reconnect flood plain
Extend woodlands
Restore semi-natural habitats
Programme of citizen science with local university
Improved hydrology
Water quality
Carbon capture and storage
Climate resilience
Access and education
Great estuarine restoration Connect fragmented inter-tidalhabitats
Re-wet arable and grass land to create habitats
Awareness raising campaign to public and businesses
Carbon capture and storage
Water quality
Climate resilience
Access and education

It has said a large-scale arable project involving hedgerow management and the planting of pollen and nectar mixes, flower rich margins and small flower rich meadows alongside intensive agriculture would be unlikely to attract funding through Landscape Recovery as it would be more suited to one of the other ELM options.

If you would like to know more about any of the ELM schemes, contact your local Strutt & Parker rural office.

Jason Beedell
Director, Research
Head Office, London
+44 203 7970 598
Send a message to Jason Beedell
3 mins

Related Articles


Bracken: A new look at an old adversary

There can be few native plants that have caused as many management headaches to landowners – particularly, but not exclusively, in the uplands of the UK – as bracken. It is an extraordinarily successful species reputed to be present on every continent on Earth apart from Antarctica, but it is the species’ ability to colonise […]

Learning from the Italian biogas sector

A group of Italian farmers are integrating anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies with farming practices designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of producing both food and fuel more sustainably. They have developed a concept called ‘Biogas done right’, which is proving a success in terms of reducing their carbon footprint, cutting fertiliser costs […]

Implications of new telecoms rulings for landowners

The Supreme Court recently passed down its judgement on three cases regarding the implementation of the Electronic Communications Code. In 2017, Parliament implemented a new Electronic Communications Code under the Digital Economy Act which covers, amongst other things, the acquisition of so-called ‘code rights’ by telecoms operators, enabling the installation and operation of electronic communication […]

5 things to know about Scottish land reform proposals

The Scottish land market has developed dramatically in a short space of time, due to the impact of Covid-19, the climate crisis, and the developing market for varying forms of carbon sequestration. The development of the carbon market has created both a new source of demand and a dramatic increase in capital values for land […]

Talk to us

Want to talk to us about our rural specialisms? Send us a message and we will make sure it gets to the right person.

Please write your name
Please write a message

Sign up

Sign up to be notified when we launch new publications so you’re always ahead of the research.

Please write your name
Please write a correct email address
Send me updates about
Please tick a box