In anticipation of the transition from Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) to Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs), the Scottish Government (SG) commissioned a desk-based evaluation of the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS). The aim was to establish how LFASS currently meets the goals of the Rural Development Regulation (RDR) and ANC working guiding principles, and to review the evidence and provide proposals for the development of the new ANC scheme.
The exercise focussed on five specific topics:
i. Land abandonment; the extent to which land has been abandoned over time and to establish the reasons for land abandonment.
ii. The distribution of LFASS Payments across geographical regions and agricultural sectors.
iii. The distribution of estimated new Pillar 1 Payments across geographical regions and agricultural sectors.
iv. Sustainable farming systems; what level of support is required to enable business viability and how important LFASS is to farm business and farm household income.
v. Whether LFASS has appropriately compensated farmers for income forgone and additional costs they face as a result of having LFA land.