The characterisation of agricultural areas designated as areas facing natural or other specific constraints provides useful information on the environment in which the policy is implemented.The indicator measures the share of agricultural area in different categories of areas facing natural or other specific constraints (ANCs) (ex-LFAs as they were defined in the period 2007-2013).
Article 32 of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 defines the areas facing natural or other specific constraints, which are eligible for payments to farmers, if such payments are foreseen in the respective Member State or Region (under pillar I or pillar II).In the period 2014-2020, the designation of such areas can also be used as criterion for an increase of the support rate for investments in physical assets under pillar II. They are classified according to three categories, each of which describes a specific cluster of natural or other specific constraints affecting agricultural production in the area concerned:
- Mountain areas (incl. areas north of the 62nd parallel) according to Art. 32 (1a) (ex-LFA mountain);
- Areas, other than mountain areas, facing significant natural constraints according to Art. 32 (1b) (ex-LFA intermediate);
- Other areas affected by specific constraints according to Art. 32 (1c) (ex-LFA specific).
The area designations and other requirements for ANCs have changed in comparison to the programming period 2007-2013 and to Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 and Regulation (EC) No 1257/99, which are repealed.
While no revision of the designation of mountain areas or areas affected by specific constraints is foreseen in Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 (but remains nevertheless possible), areas facing natural constraints other than mountain (former LFA intermediate) should be delimited according to eight biophysical criteria, as defined in Annex III of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, covering climate, poor soil productivity and steep slopes. Each (sub) criterion has a predefined threshold, e.g. slopes with a gradient of 15% (or more), which identifies the trigger for the area to be considered as severely constrained from the agricultural production point of view. Measurement of constraint(s) takes place at the level of Local Administrative Units (LAU) 2 (which corresponds to municipality level in most Member States) or at the level of clearly delineated, contiguous local units. The latter should have a definable economic and administrative identity. Farming in the respective local unit can be considered as being constrained if constraints are present on at least 60 % of the local unit's agricultural area. The legislation also stipulates the mechanism of fine-tuning, which aims to exclude those administrative units where a constraint has been documented but it has been overcome by investments or by economic activity. The mandatory fine-tuning exercise is a part of the designation exercise.
There is also the possibility to apply a combination of the biophysical criteria listed in Annex III of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 for the designation of areas affected by specific constraints (Article 32(4)), followed by a mandatory fine-tuning. In any case, the total extent of areas affected by specific constraints shall not exceed 10% of the area of the Member State concerned.
New data on ANCs are reported by Member States within the programming period 2014-2020.
Unit of measurement:
% of the utilised agricultural area (UAA)
DG Agriculture and Rural Development: data are reported by Member States during the programming period 2014-2020.
References/location of the data:
DG Agriculture and Rural Development on request.
Data collection level:
Areas facing natural constraints, other than mountain: Data are reported at the level of LAU2 or another LAU (a number of Member States use different administrative units for the delimitation of these areas).
Mountain areas and areas affected by specific constraints: Data collection may be carried out at the level of area designation. In case the designation of areas affected by specific constraints is carried out according to the "combination of biophysical criteria", as defined in the third paragraph of Article 32(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, the data collection level should be LAU2 or another clearly delineated local unit.
On ANC areas last update 2019. If not updated, data refer to LFAs are from 2005 (and from 2007 in the case of BG).
Map 1 – ANC: Depending on the administrative unit used for the delimitation of the areas with constraints, the map at EU level may show bigger areas than the respective maps provided by Member States. This is because the EU map is consistently set up at LAU2 level, whereas a number of Member States use lower administrative units for the designation. The respective LAU2 units are indicated as ‘partially’ and striped in the colours of the categories they encompass.
Member States needed to complete the delimitation of the ANCs other than mountain in 2019 at the latest in order to be used as criteria for respective payments to farmers or higher support rates. Until then, the previous area designations stayed in force. In case of no new designation in 2019 or later designation, the former LFA intermediate category might be eligible for phasing-out payments until 2020 at the latest (Article 31 (5) of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013), if programmed in the respective rural development program and is therefore still indicated in the table of C.32 and in the map(map 2 - LFA).