ANC map: What lands are affected for 2019?

The redesigned Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme for 2019 was revealed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed yesterday, revealing changes in area now eligible under the programme.

Under the reviewed scheme, based on identifying townlands that are considered to be constrained by reference to a range of biophysical criteria set out at EU level, approximately 98% of currently eligible townlands will remain eligible under the new scheme.

In addition, over 2,000 townlands will now also have eligible land under the scheme for the first time in 2019.

However, some 700 townlands – spread across the country – will no longer be eligible for the ANC scheme in 2019, having being eligible in 2018.

Approximately 750 farmers will be negatively impacted by this change.

Leaving the phasing out payments aside, the financial impact will be under €1,000 for over half of the farmers impacted.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Townslands in Co. Limerick appear to be the big winner following the review, with a lot of the county now eligible for ANC support in 2019.

Other townslands to benefit are located predominantly in counties Cork, Tipperary, Westmeath, Offaly and Kilkenny.

On the flip-side, areas no longer eligible for next year appear to be scattered along the south and east of the country, as well as the midlands.

A full list of townslands eligible for the scheme in 2019 is available on the Department of Agriculture website here on a county-by-county basis.

For beneficiaries no longer eligible under the new designation, degressive phase-out payments may be paid, set at: 80% of the 2007-2013 rates for 2019; and 20% for 2020.

The framework for the new designation of the ANC scheme is set out in the Rural Development Regulation – EU Regulation 1305 of 2013 – according to the department.

This regulation sets out the new designation which must be based on the following biophysical criteria:
  • Low temperature;
  • Dryness;
  • Excess soil moisture;
  • Limited soil drainage;
  • Unfavourable texture and stoniness;
  • Shallow rooting depth;
  • Poor chemical properties;
  • Steep slope.

In tandem with this process member states are also required to undertake a fine-tuning process.

This process is required to identify areas where significant natural constraints were identified with reference to the biophysical criteria – but where objective criteria have indicated that these constraints have been overcome by investments, economic activity, or evidence of normal land productivity, or in which production methods or farming systems have offset the income loss or added costs.

Finally, member states may also identify areas for inclusion as Areas of Specific Constraint where “it is necessary for land management to be continued in order to conserve or improve the environment, to maintain the countryside, to preserve the tourist potential of the area, or to protect the coastline”.