Following the announcement of a new Citizens’ Assembly to discuss and make recommendations on improving our biodiversity the President of the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Vincent Roddy has challenged the current thinking with regard to this.
Speaking on this, Roddy outlined how the last twenty years has been lost as the State , National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS) and environmental groups pursued a policy of preservation rather than conservation. In explaining the difference Roddy pointed out how “conservation we see as active management and supporting the growth of biodiversity, while the currently applied policy of preservation has driven stagnation and the ongoing decay of biodiversity.
The outcomes of this policy is, he added, “best illustrated across our natura 2000 network. Here, based on NPWS reports, we have seen these designated natura habitats regress or remain static despite being under the management and care of the NPWS.”
This regression comes, he stressed “from ongoing policy that has undermined active management of these habitats with farmers compelled to operate within the 38 Activities Requiring Consent (ARC’s) while watching helplessly as the habitat status stagnates and regresses.”
“While biodiversity and indeed biodiversity loss is not confined to our Natura sites it does provide a valuable insight as to where we are on biodiversity and a pathway as to how we address it” added Roddy.Based on this it is he continued “vital that those who have been tasked and paid to deliver on this acknowledge that the policies they have pursued have failed and change course.”
Farmers all over the Country and especially those operating on Natura lands are stated the INHFA President “willing to engage and work on improving the habitats that they first delivered and were deemed worthy of the prize of a designation.”
“However this engagement must take on board their views and recognise their effort, as ecologists and State bodies, don’t have a monopoly of what works best and cannot be the only ones that get a financial reward” concluded Roddy