More than four out of five farmers are aware of specific details relating to the proposed Nature Restoration Law according to an on-line survey conducted by the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association.
In a survey of almost 500 members: only 17% were unaware of the proposed law with proposals around the rewetting of drained peatlands at 41% being the issue of greatest awareness. Beyond this, there was a similar awareness around the threat to CAP payments at 22% and rewilding of our uplands at 20%.
A further question asked if there are any circumstances where they would consider rewetting or rewilding existing farmland. Here two-thirds of farmers (65%) stated that this is something they would never do, while 8% were willing to consider it with the remaining 27% not sure or indicating that this issue doesn’t apply to them.
Two other questions related to the potential funding of the proposed law. With no additional EU money to deliver on the Nature Restoration Law members were asked if they were aware of this and a staggering 86% indicated they were not aware of this.In a further question, they were asked if existing CAP monies should be used here. Eight out of ten farmers were totally opposed to this idea.
Commenting on this aspect of the survey INHFA President Vincent Roddy stated “How this corresponds with the feedback we have been getting through meetings and ongoing engagement with our members. And while it is positive that so many are aware, it also confirms the need for us all to do more in order to reach those that are unaware of this law.”
In another survey question regarding the possible risks to CAP payments resulting from the implementation of this law, the INHFA President outlined the need for greater awareness of this. Here 32% of respondents were aware of the possible risk but 59% were not with the remainder detailing how this doesn’t apply to them.
Commenting on the overall survey Vincent Roddy stressed “the need to keep in mind the fact that, for 17% of those that responded, this was the first knowledge they had of many of the concepts in this law.” On this basis, there is an increasing possibility that the opposition to suggestions as regards rewetting, rewilding, or the use of CAP payments to deliver on this law could be much higher than those outlined.”
In concluding Roddy was adamant that “the high level of opposition outlined in this survey is something our public representatives need to take on board because this is not going away.”