Vincent Roddy, President of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association, has expressed concerns about the proposed EU Nature Restoration Law, following recent engagement with Minister Malcom Noonan and National Parks and Wildlife officials. In highlighting the fact that the proposed law has no new dedicated EU funding for its implementation he outlined that “while this may seem like a setback, the fact that no dedicated fund exists will inevitably delay its implementation which could be a blessing in disguise for farmers.”
Through the meetings, it was made clear that any restoration measures that improve habitats would have to be maintained. For example, if a farmer re-wets a piece of land or indeed carries out other potential habitat measures within ACRES or another scheme and improves the habitat over the duration of the scheme, that habitat under the Nature Restoration Law may not be able to ever regress in its quality, even after scheme funding is ended.
This stated the INHFA President “could potentially prevent any other farming activities or even potential development from ever being carried out by the farmer or future generations on that ground or possibly adjoining grounds.” On this basis it is stressed Roddy “reasonable to assume that the Nature Restoration Law will be referenced in planning objections similar to the SAC Designations?”
It is, he continued, “time for the Minister and Government to clarify with the EU whether we have effectively signed up to a designation law under a different name.” He also stresses “that it is important to ensure that any future policies and programs take into account the concerns of farmers and other stakeholders.”
In concluding the INHFA Leader stressed on the need for the government and the EU to take a closer look at the implications of the proposed Nature Restoration Law. “We believe it is vital that any future policies take into account the concerns of farmers and their communities and forward plans for future generations.”