Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

The ‘Areas of Natural Constraint’ (ANCs) Scheme has replaced the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.

ANCs are divided into mountain areas, severely handicapped, and less severely handicapped areas. The Scheme provides payments on a per-hectare basis for those farming these areas.


Applications to avail of the ANC scheme were made through the 2015 Basic Payment application. Once you have indicated on your BPS application that you wish to apply for ANC paymet, the LPIS system then identifies whether the areas are in the Areas of Natural Constraint or not.

The areas designated as ANC are the same as those designated under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, with the exception of land situated on offshore islands, pending the delineation of the Areas of Natural Constraints.

In order to be eligible for payment, the land in question must be available to the applicant for the entire calendar year. Land farmed by the applicant on the basis of 11-month conacre agreements is also eligible for payment under the ANC Scheme.

To be eligible for payment an applicant must:

  • undertake to farm, manage and pursue a farming activity on all land applied in 2015, for the full calendar year and to adhere to the definition of an “active farmer”
  • have a holding that meets the minimum stocking levels (0.15 livestock units)

In addition to satisfying the eligibility requirement, land entitled to benefit from payment under the scheme must have an agricultural activity carried out on it and the land must be used and farmed by the applicant. Parcels, including commonage parcels must be maintained in such a condition as to ensure the land is suitable for grazing or cultivation.

‘Top-up’ payments are made to Areas of Specific Constraints (Islands). In order to qualify land must be situated on an off-shore island with no permanent access to the mainland.


Note: On smartphones more details are available by swiping left and right within tables or by viewing in landscape mode

Payments will commence in the third week of September each year with a target of 100% payment in respect of cleared cases.

The Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme provides for payment as follows:

Area Designation Payment Rates Payable Area
Mountain Type Land €109.71 First 10 hectares or part thereof*
€95.99 Remaining hectares up to maximum of 34 hectares**
More Severely Handicapped Lowland €95.99 30 hectares or part thereof subject to an overall maximum of 30 hectares
Less Severely Handicapped Lowland €82.27 30 hectares or part thereof subject to an overall maximum of 30 hectares


* The top-up of €13.72 on the first 10 hectares of Mountain Type Land will only be paid to beneficiaries who maintain a sheep, cattle or goat enterprise or a combination of these enterprises.

** Applicants maintaining a combination of Mountain Type Land, More Severely Handicapped Lowland and/or Less Severely Handicapped Lowland, will be paid up to a maximum of 30 hectares except where the area of Mountain Type Land declared is between 30 and 34 hectares. In these cases, the payment will be based on the number of hectares of Mountain Type Land declared.

A separate payment in respect of those farming off-shore islands will apply subject to an overall maximum ceiling of 40 hectares:

Area Designation Payment Rates Payable Area
Areas of Specific Constraints (Island) €250.00 Up to and including the first 20 hectares of Areas of Specific Constraints or part thereof
€150.00 Greater than 20 hectares or less than or equal to 34 hectares of Areas of Specific Constraints
€ 70.00 Greater than 34 hectares or less than or equal to 40 hectares of Areas of Specific Constraints


5% of applicants will be subject to land eligibility inspections. Inspections will take place with up to 14 days notice.


Reductions and/or penalties will apply in cases where the area determined is more or less than the area declared.


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