ARCHIVE: Uplands Land Classification
Although there is no statutory definition for the 'Uplands', areas above the upper limits of enclosed farmland containing dry and wet dwarf shrub heath species and rough grassland are referred to as such. Upland areas contain many plant and animal communities that are only found in these areas. Without some form of management these areas could lose this valuable biodiversity. Historically hill famers have carried out management of these areas predominantly through sheep grazing. In recognition of the difficulties hill farmers face, Government support has been provided to support the upland economy and local communities. The 1946 Hill Farming Act provided the context for this.
Through accession to the European Union, in 1975 the Less Favoured Areas (LFA) were established as a means for providing aid specifically to the socially and economically disadvantaged areas in the UK uplands. Under the current Rural Development Regulation (EC Reg. 1257/99) within England some 2.2 million hectares of land is classified as LFA. Of this, 1.8 million hectares is in agricultural production (this is approximately 17% of the total agricultural land in England). Within the LFAs a further designation of land, the Moorland Line is also used under domestic legislation to better target support for the uplands.
Less Favoured Areas
The LFAs are predominant in the northern and south western areas of England and in areas of the Welsh Borders. They were first established under EC Directive 75/276 concerning the Community list of LFAs within the meaning of EC Directive 75/268 (United Kingdom) and by Commission Decision 91/25 altering the limits of the LFAS in the United Kingdom. The LFAs of mainland England are classified in accordance with Article 19 of EC Regulation 1257/1999 (the Rural Development Regulation - RDR). The Isles of Scilly are classified in accordance with Article 20. The LFAs include two distinct classifications with areas being known as either Disadvantaged Area (DA) or Severely Disadvantaged Area (SDA). An interactive map of LFAs can be viewed through the Multi-Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside (Magic) mapping facility. Alternatively an A4 sized printable map (link) is available.
Less Favoured Area means land;
- Which is situated in and are included in the list of less favoured farming areas adopted by the Council for the Commission of the European Communities under Article 2 of Council Directive No. 75/268/EEC on mountain and hill farming in less favoured areas, and
- In the UK, LFAs are subdivided into Severely Disadvantaged Area (SDA) (shaded pink on the designated map) and Disadvantaged Area (DA) (shaded blue on the map).
Severely Disadvantaged land means land;
- Which is, in the opinion of the appropriate Minister, inherently suitable for extensive livestock production but not for the production of crops in quantity materially greater than that necessary to feed such livestock as are capable of being maintained on such land, and
- Whose agricultural production is, in the opinion of the appropriate Minister, severely restricted in its range by, or by a combination of soil, relief, aspect or climate, or
- Land situated in the Isles of Scilly.
Disadvantaged land means land;
- Which is, in the opinion of the appropriate Minister, inherently suitable for extensive livestock production but not for the production of crops in quantity materially greater than that necessary to feed such livestock as being capable of being maintained on such land, and
- Whole agricultural production is, in the opinion of the appropriate Minister, restricted in its range by, or by any combination of, soil, relief, aspect or climate.
Moorland Line of England
The Moorland line of England was drawn in 1992 as a means for establishing eligibility of farmers within the LFA for the Moorland (Livestock Extensification) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 No. 904). Moorland is defined in terms of the vegetation present, which must be predominantly semi-natural upland vegetation, or predominantly of rock outcrops and semi-natural vegetation, used primarily for rough grazing. Moorland includes both open moors and enclosed land on the margins of uplands.
The current original set of maps can be viewed by appointment at the:
Defra - Information Resource Centre
Lower Ground Floor
Ergon House c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
Defra Helpline: 08459 33 55 77
The new Rural Development Regulation
The new RDR (Council Regulation 1698/2005) came into force on 1 January 2007 to cover the programming period 2007 - 2013. Provisions relating to Natural Handicap Payments (Articles 37, 50 (20 - (4) and 88 (3)) will come into force on 1 January 2010 once criteria for the Less Favoured Areas (Natural Handicap Areas) have been adopted.
Other Land Classifications - Environmental Designations
The LFAs also include other environmental designations reflecting the high environmental, biodiversity, archaeological, cultural heritage and landscape values. Designations including National Park status, Special Areas of Conservation and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty also reflect the high conservation status prevalent with the LFAs. Details including other designations are set out in the attached table.
Page last modified:
30 April, 2010
Page published: 24 February, 2005