In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, the Department must designate Areas of Natural Constraint based on a set of common EU criteria to replace the current Less Favoured Areas. The Department is seeking views on initial draft maps based on the new criteria. The final map will be subject to approval by the EU Commission via a modification to the Rural Development Programme.
On 7 December 2016 the Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen announced a one year ANC Scheme worth £8 million. Claims will be made to this transitional scheme in 2017 with payments made in 2018. This will be the last year of the Scheme. As there are no plans for an ANC Scheme beyond 2018 the Minister also announced at that time that work on ANC re-designation will cease.