LPISQA Legacy/ETS/Definitions/Eligibility

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Pan-European rules for Eligibility? (QE 2)

It is not feasible to define generally applicable technical guidelines on how to account for these landscape features in the LPIS, as both approaches on landscape features depend on the regional traditions or on the national GAEC measures rather than on pan-European concepts. Each MS will have to develop a solution where it can demonstrate that the farmer is informed of the presence and eligible area of a landscape feature and, when appropriate, the inspector is able to control its retention. The existing technical guidance on landscape features relates to the work of the inspector, and how his findings (position and area) are brought into the LPIS for the inspected reference parcels.

Why the total eligible area is calculated based on both active and non-active reference parcels?

Legal background: Commission Regulations (EC) 2009R1122 does not differentiate between "active" and "non-active" reference parcels. Art. 28 does not a priori exclude any type of declared parcels (reference or agricultural). Art, 55 on "non-declaration of all areas" requires area values for all declared areas, including those for "other uses" specified in article 13.8. Furthermore Art. 33 states "On-the-spot checks shall cover all the agricultural parcels for which aid is requested".

In functional terms: The inspection process determines the area of agriculture land through the mapping of land cover. This is "potentially" eligible land (represents eligible ha) by applying an eligibility profile. The amount declared for aid per parcel is in fact one type of land use. It is not mapped (nor is there a need to do so) but recorded in IACS. Another relevant form of recorded land use is land declared for "other uses", but not for aid.

The two concepts, land cover and land use, are different and are assessed by two different measures. Both concepts should also be supported by different procedures in IACS:

  • incorrect representation of agriculture land: --> LPIS update
  • change in land use: --> verification procedure.

Eligibility on marginal areas (QE 2)

In the exercise of assessing the quality of the LPIS, it is appropriate to use the approach towards eligibility of marginal areas which is used by the authorities when establishing and updating the LPIS. The approach should be set within the legal framework for eligibility of areas which is given in Reg. 73/2009, Reg. 1120/2009 and Reg. 1122/2009.

The subject of eligibility was exhaustively discussed in the Management Committee for Direct payments in 2009/2010. In that context document DS/2009/29 was presented in the meeting of the Management committee for Direct Payments on 26 November 2009. Annex II of this document lists the legal provisions relating to eligibility. Furthermore, some clarifications relating to the issue of eligibility, and in particular marginal areas, can be found in DS/2010/04 rev 1 which was discussed in the meeting of the Management committee for Direct Payment on 31 March 2010. Further changes of the legislation are not foreseen for now.

Theoretical background of the pro-rata system

The concept of "Pro-Rata" refers to a method of handling particular land covers (bio-physical phenomena) that represent an intrinsic mix of different life forms (different vegetation types from physiognomic-structural viewpoint) that co-exist on a particular area of the Earth surface and that are completely inter-dependent. A typical example of such intrinsic mix could be natural grassland and shrub, where one of the life forms is herbaceous vegetation. If accessible for grazing, this component has an agriculture potential that makes it agriculture land. However, the intrinsic mix makes a straightforward quantification of the agriculture (eligible) land through delineation of the herbaceous vegetation alone impossible. But, if one can demonstrate that the proportion of grass area within the mix is relatively stable, the variation in the ratio between different patches can be presumed insignificant for the particular mix.

Therefore, if one could estimate and establish in advance, through scientifically-sound methods, an average ratio for the intrinsic mix with sufficient degree of confidence, this can quantify the agriculture land available for the area covered by that intrinsic mix, by delineating the whole area as single polygon and multiply the polygon area by the (grass) ratio expressed as percentage (or alternatively, the reduction coefficient for all non-agricultural area inside the mix).

For this approach to function, each particular intrinsic mix will have its own defining characteristics and specific ratio. It should be listed as separate land cover class in the eligibility profile with a proper LCC definition and UDLC. The specific ratio should be given in the "Eligibility Hectare Factor" field.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This concept of pro-rata is applied at the level of the particular land cover type. It is implemented at the level of the reference parcel MEA directly from mapping (GPS/CAPI area delineation of the land cover). Reduction of the MEA applied on parcel level by other methods such as "scorecards", documented subtraction of area are not considered pro-rata.

Reduction coefficient for the pro rata land cover classes

The LPIS QA eligibility profile imposes one coefficient or fixed rate for each type of land. However, in practice, the reduction coefficient can be applied on a parcel by parcel basis. In such cases the two methodologies may yield differences and the pro-rata approach may result in non-conformity.

If a MS considers that such non-conformity does not relate to the LPIS as a whole, but stems from the different methodology, a separate analysis should be carried out to demonstrate that no bias is present for the total area of agricultural land stored in the system. The reasoning why a pro-rata approach with a fixed coefficient is used is documented in a Bergamo presentation.

GAEC eligibility (QE 2)

GAEC becomes an eligibility condition for areas under SPS in the case when no other agriculture activity besides the GAEC maintenance is taking place on the parcel. Forests are not eligible for payments under the first pillar except when they are covered by Article 34(2) of Regulation (EC) No 73/2009(afforestation).

How to deal with conditional eligibility?

These conditions must be documented in the eligibility profile and/or in other unstructured evidence. When any of the conditions is not fulfilled by a feature previously classified as an instance of the type, the feature fails the test and can no longer be regarded as belonging to this type. In the case that feature fully covers a reference parcel, the complete LUI becomes ineligible and a critical defect with 'Total absence of eligible feature' value must be encoded in course of ETS.