The Uplands Alliance

News & Events

Creating a Brighter Future for England’s Uplands

PrintThe Upland Alliance is delighted to have been awarded funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund to engage farmers, politicians and policy makers to ‘Create a Brighter Future’ for England’s Uplands post Brexit.


This project will over the two years 2017-19 enhance the capacity of English hill farmers and land managers to run viable and resilient businesses and prepare for the impending changes in agricultural policy. The upland farmed landscape provides a wonderful array of public benefits but the link between these and the payments hill farmers receive under the current support system has been too tenuous. so we seek to enable hill farmers to confidently offer a fresh covenant to the public. This covenant can secure funding where the market fails to properly reward them for the products they provide society. We will assist farmers make a transition in thinking so empowering them to reevaluate their assets and their offer. In parallel the project will engage with other stakeholders to reiterate the urgency of investing in maintaining and enhancing the natural, social and cultural capital of the farmed uplands for society. Our upland national parks receive over 70 million visits each year yet the payments made under BPS and stewardship equate to only £3.30 per visit.


  • Engage advisors to develop engagement plan with Steering Group and key contacts in hill farming networks and partnerships
  • Engage advisors to develop engagement plan with Steering Group and key contacts in hill farming networks and partnerships
  • Print T towels
  • Start implementation of engagement plan with hill farmers via
    • farmer networks,
    • commoner federations and
    • hill farming groups

to empower farmers to review their business models and incorporate public benefits as products

  • Established contacts with 30 key publications to “run” the story and
  • achieve10 published stories
  • Hold Engagement Event in Parliament – engage with 150 parliamentarians and NGOs
  • Support regional bodies deliver the change message to hill farming businesses
  • Start selling tea towels to recover costs and distribute the message wider
  • Plan and start a series of engagement events to explore the transition from subsidies to payments to Local Delivery of Outcomes for Society
  • Achieve a further 20 published stories

Measurable Outcomes

Through events, targeted publications and other engagement routes reach out to 1300 hill farming businesses and 150 key influencers.



Sharing Learning from our Neighbours: Is Welsh Upland Farming at a Brexit–induced crossroad?

The Uplands Alliance focuses on England but we are aware our challenges aren’t unique and so we are forming links with those in England and Scotland exploring the same issues as us. Here are links to the reports and presentations of a conference held in Wales in March entitled: Is Welsh upland farming at a Brexit–induced crossroad?

“Upland farming in Wales could be at a crossroads, which is why Bangor University, RSPB Cymru, and Cynidr Consulting, worked in partnership with support from the Welsh Government, to organise a unique event on the 15 March, to discuss the future of upland farming, and to offer farmers the opportunity to contribute to future land use policy developments.”

The conference report and all the slides from the presentations are available on the Bangor University Webpage – well worth looking at:

Here is the report as well: Future of the Uplands Post CAP Report Final

Uplands Alliance South-West Report

We are pleased to publish here the report of the fourth of our workshops on 31st March 2017. It was great to see such vibrant conversation in Exeter from a range of stakeholders from Conservation, Farming and the Defra Family (Natural England, Forestry Commission and the National Parks). Thank you to NFU for hosting the day and to Dieter Helm for being our guest speaker and to Nigel Stone for chairing the day. Financial Support was kindly provided by Dartmoor National Park Authority and Exmoor National Park Authority.

Report from the 31-03-2017 Workshop in Exeter: Shaping the future of the SW Uplands – with summary

Slides from Dieter Helm’s Talk to Uplands Alliance 31-03-17: Dieter Helm-Exeter Upland (F) 31.03.17

Slides from Julia Aglionby’s Talk to Uplands Alliance 31-03-17: Aglionby-UA-Exeter-Mar 2017

Dieter Helm Addresses “Looking Forward Shaping the Future of the South West Uplands” Workshop

We were delighted that Dieter Helm was able to address the Final “Looking Forward” Workshop held in Exeter on 31st March 2017. This Upland Alliance Event was organised by the NFU South-west and Exmoor National Park with additional financial support from Dartmoor National Park. All 40 plus participants from a wide range of conservation organisations and farms across Bodmin, Dartmoor and Exmoor worked hard during the day and we were delighted to be joined by Natural England and Defra.

Full reports are in preparation and will come shortly. In the meantime here are the slides presented by Dieter Helm, Professor of Economics at Oxford University and Chair of the Natural Capital Committee and Julia Aglionby Chair of the Uplands Alliance.

Dieter Helms’ Presentation      outcomes-upland-alliance-22nd-sept-2016-workshopDieter Helm-Exeter Upland (F) 31.03.17

Julia Aglionby’s Presentation     Aglionby-UA-Exeter-Mar 2017

Shropshire Hills Voice their Future for the Uplands

The Uplands Alliance worked with the Shropshire Hills AONB to convene a workshop on, Looking Forward – what we need from Government Support for the future of the uplands in the Shropshire Hills and other areas of the English Uplands bordering Wales.

Held on 27th February there was a massive attendance with huge energy from the 82 participants. Thank you to all the partners who supported the event; Natural England, CLA, NFU, National Trust, Foundation for Common Land.

The AONB has kindly prepared both a short report setting out: a) the principles that participants concluded were required going forward and b) next steps as well as a long report providing full details of the discussions held. Please find these available to download here:

Summary Report    Shropshire Hills Uplands Forum 27 Feb 17 summary report

Full Report               Shropshire Hills Uplands Forum 27 Feb 17 full report

Speakers Slides        Uplands Forum 27 Feb 17 presentations-web


Uplands Alliance speaks at British Ecological Society Uplands Workshop

The Uplands Alliance was invited to speak at a workshop held on 17th March at Newcastle University. Academics, nature conservationists and farmers and landowners gathered from across the UK to consider the impacts on the uplands of Brexit and opportunities for change. Julia Aglionby spoke for the Uplands Alliance.

There were interesting presentations from Scotland and Wales about approaches being taken in those countries. The Welsh Government seems well advanced and more transparent about their thinking and the significant reductions in funding for agriculture post exit. Paul Brannan MEP also spoke passionately about the need for more trees in the uplands and the need to connect urban communities with the countryside. Robin Milton, one of our Deputy Chairs spoke as NFU Uplands forum Chair.

The initial summary and all the presentations can be downloaded from the British Ecological Society website BES Uplands PresentationsUplands-Compressed-Presentations

or here Uplands-Compressed-Presentations



On January 13th 2017 over 80 people gathered from across the north of England at Newton Rigg College, Penrith under the banner of the Uplands Alliance. The purpose was  to discuss building a future for the Northern Uplands post Brexit. The event was kindly financed by the Lake District, Peak District, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park Authorities.

The main outcomes of the discussions can be found below and the summaries of the workshop and the verbatim text can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Attendees included farmers, conservation NGOs, government agencies, and representative bodies of landowners and sporting interests. We explored the benefits the uplands provide society and had speeches from Dame Helen Ghosh on the National Trust’s commitment to the farmed landscape, Defra’s Nicola Riley on the principles in the 25 year Environment and Farming Plans and Robin Milton on the NFU’s perspective on the uplands.


Output 1:    What Principles should post EU Exit public funding follow?


  • Focus public money on delivering public goods in the uplands
  • Provide government support for developing private markets for public goods where possible

Scheme Approach & Scope

  • Within a national framework allow local tailoring of schemes consider the role of National Parks and AONBs
  • Use a Landscape Scale / Catchment Approach
  • Adopt an outcomes approach rather than relying on prescriptions

Motivation and Ownership

  • Empower and Enable farmers as key agents of land management – 70% of the uplands are farmed
  • Clear, simple schemes that pay on time

Output 2: The attendees concluded that:  Looking Forward the most important actions needed for the Northern Uplands are…’

Identify Common Ground

  • Engage and work with a wider group of upland land interests
  • Capture consensus and produce a Concord
  • Create a joined up response to the two 25 year plans

Improve Communications

  • Create public support for investing in the Uplands through communication and learning – capture the imagination – hearts and minds – stories
  • Share a clear collective message from stakeholders
  • Convey a consistent message to Defra

Influence Policy

  • Respond positively on behalf of the Uplands to the 25 year plan consultations
  • Help to develop schemes that have a national framework, but are locally tailored and include new approaches identified
  • Ensure the economic and social value of the uplands is relevant to the Northern Powerhouse
  • Highlight integration of rural social, environmental and economic issues – e.g. farming, housing, broadband

Increase Knowledge and Skills

  • Improve evidence base and valuation of the benefits the Uplands provide and develop mechanisms for public and private funding
  • Pilot new schemes and new approaches e.g. outcomes based schemes
  • Enhance skills and knowledge of farmers, advisors & agencies

Please download the Workshop Summary Reports here:

2 page summary:   ua-northern-event-2-page-summary-jan-2017

8 page summary:   ua-northern-event-8-page-summary-jan-2017

Verbatim report:    looking-forward-workshop-13-jan-2017-verbatim-report-final