Use of RS for control of Cross-Compliance

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Remote sensing data may be used in two ways for the control of cross compliance:

  • Use of RS for the control of the GAEC (or part of GAEC).
  • Use of RS as a support for the selection of the cross compliance sample (risk analysis).

CwRS for the control of GAEC: CwRS may be envisaged for some GAEC standards (or SMR in limited cases) that may be checked on satellite or airborne imagery. This is the case for instance for the maintenance of a soil cover during winter, the prohibition of burning stubble, the maintenance of grassland, the prohibition of the removal of landscape features, the presence of buffer strip etc. In some cases the use of a DTM can be needed in order to identify conditions for the application of the requirements such as slopes where some practices are forbidden (e.g. ploughing along contour lines is compulsory in slopes above a certain threshold). Autumn/winter images are needed to check some requirements like the prohibition of bare soil.

During the photo-interpretation of the satellite or airborne imagery each parcel should be flagged with an appropriate code. The CAPI operator will detect and flag any case of possible non-compliance (e.g. bare soil) with an appropriate code. He/she will also flag any case where the compliance cannot be detected (e.g. the presence of a buffer strip under tree canopy) using another appropriate code. The use of thematic layers combined with GIS techniques can be useful during the CAPI: e.g. the automatic generation of buffer polygons from a water courses layer can support the check of buffer strips on imagery. Photo-interpreters should receive guidelines for the identification of non-compliances on the imagery and should be specifically trained for checking the GAEC. Furthermore, they should have the possibility to display on-screen the examples collected during the ground survey.

The results of the photo-interpretation shall be given to the controller that shall carry out rapid field visits in all doubtful cases. As a quality control it would be recommended to foreseen rapid field visits also on a small sample of cases where the CAPI did not detect any non-compliance (e.g. parcels that are physically inspected to checks for GAEC standards which are not controlled with RS can be controlled also for standards ordinarily checked with RS). The use of remote sensing to control GAEC standards must be effective as classical field checks. It would be advisable that before the MS uses RS as an ordinary tool for GAEC standards checks, a survey is performed to demonstrate effectiveness of RS checks by comparing the results of controls using classical field inspections and RS for the different GAEC standards in different landscape patterns. JRC can offer technical support and supervise the survey.

CwRS as a support for selecting the cross compliance sample: On the CwRS OTSC sample or on the whole area covered by the HR image, an automatic classification (refined by CAPI) could provide a list of parcels potentially in breach with some GAEC that can be checked with RS. The corresponding dossiers may hence be part of the risk based sample for the controls of cross compliance of a given control body (the “1% sample” per competent authority). Member States should mention in their National Addendum the option(s) retained (no control of cross compliance with RS, use of RS for partial control or for risk analysis) for each of the control zones. If relevant, the GAECs to be checked and the criteria to be assessed should also be described as well as the specific imagery / processing requested (e.g. HR imagery in autumn/winter for the detection of bare soil).