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Classification of Hill Land - LS3405

Article 15 of the RDR requires that LFA support payments be differentiated according to environmental and socio-economic criteria, ie:
• distinguish areas according to the degree of agricultural disadvantage and/or ecological value
• result in clearly darned boundaries between classified areas that are distinct from each other in meaningful ways
It is accepted that the current means of delivering support in LFAs, the Hill Farm Allowance Scheme (HFAS) does not fully achieve these objectives, although it does go some way to meeting other ERDP objectives, such as contributing to the maintenance of the social fabric in upland communities through support for continued agricultural land use.
The research proposed here will build on work carried out at Reading and funded by DEFRA and EN to construct a classification system for upland land that meets the two primary objectives for LFA support listed above, ie, classify land according to ecological variation and level of disadvantage associated with farming it. The classification will build on a methodology developed at Reading for defining Landscape Description Units, which further subdivides The Countryside Agency Character Areas according to a range of topographical, geological and climate data. This research will construct a national classification framework and validate this framework in three case study upland areas through consultation with farmers and other stakeholders. The impacts of the new framework on redistribution of support payments will be assessed through spreadsheet modeling.
It is intended to discuss the implications of the new classification with stakeholder groups and publish the conclusions of the research, subject to DEFRA approval, in an appropriate academic journal.
The key scientific objectives of the project are:

1. Selection of case study regions
2. Refine landscape typeology
3. Validate maps of landscape type for case study areas
4. Derive a set of disadvantage scores for the landscape classes
5. Validate aggregate disadvantage scores
6. Prototype structure for area payments
7. Evaluate the redistribution impacts of new classification
8. Stakeholder consultation
9. Reporting
Project Documents
• Final Report : Classification of land to reflect the environmental value and difficult farming conditions of upland grazing land   (806k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2002

Cost: £49,452
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Reading
Livestock Farming              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study