Finding Funding

© Mike Dodd

Finding Funding

Find Funding

Funding for floodplain meadow management and restoration can come from a range of different sources, both on a site by site basis, or at a landscape scale. Some of the opportunities are listed below:

Government Agri-environment support schemes

This is an area of rapid change in England, as the development of Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS), the new agri-environment support scheme, is underway but not complete. ELMS will replace the old Stewardship schemes although it is not yet clear what this will cover. The first tier will be the Sustainable Farming Incentive( SFI). Building on the success of Countryside Stewardship, the Government will evolve Countryside Stewardship over the next two years to include what had been originally planned for Local Nature Recovery, rather than introducing a new Local Nature Recovery scheme.  There is existing funding through the current Countryside Stewardship scheme relevant to floodplain meadows: 

 The Government plan to make improved versions of the actions (where required) available in 2024 for agreements starting from 2025 which are set to be published along with payment rates, later in 2023. We were successful in lobbying Defra to consider the need for a separate Floodplain Meadow management and restoration option within the new CS plus scheme and we have been working with Defra on developing content for this option.   See mention of this in the recent Government announcement.

15 pilot projects have been funded in 2022 to examine how landscape scale projects can be funded through the ELM scheme in England including the North East Cotswolds Farmer Cluster we work with whose project seeks to restore a catchment-wide habitat mosaic (such as floodplain meadows) along the River Evenlode.  Applications for further rounds of Landscape Recovery will be announced in 2023 and 2024.  The second round will focus on net zero, protected sites and habitat creation so there may well be further opportunities for floodplain meadow restoration and creation.

Image of people in a field
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

BNG funds come through the planning process, where developers are now required to provide an overall increase in biodiversity as a result of development. The gain must be an increase of at least 10%. If this increase cannot be provided within the development site, it must be provided elsewhere. More information about the BNG process can be found here.

Many counties are managing the delivery of BNG strategically, for example by linking habitat to countywide plans for Nature Recovery Networks. Therefore how you access BNG funds will vary depending on where you are and how your county is planning to deliver this. There are numerous organisations being set up to help manage the allocation of BNG funds. 

Examples include:

Local partnership projects

Getting involved in your local farm cluster or farmer network is probably the best way to find out about local partnership projects. Many organisations will fund projects relating to landscape scale habitat restoration, data collection, research, community projects and so on. These funding partnerships usually need farmer networks to be involved as they are the typical delivery mechanism for habitat management and restoration.

Some examples of local projects that we have been involved with are:

Image of a tractor
© Debbie Wilkins
Farm diversification

Some farmers prefer not to be reliant on external support and are developing models that are based on diversification of income streams. An example of a floodplain farmer doing this is 

Other opportunities

Other opportunities are developing, including carbon trading schemes and nutrient trading schemes. However these are largely still in a development phase. The delivery of these types of schemes is most likely to be the same mechanisms as for BNG.