As discussions continue with regard to the proposed Nature Restoration Law and its possible impact, the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have called for a reassessment of the SAC and SPA land designations that forms part of the Natura 2000 network.
Speaking on this National President Vincent Roddy detailed how the experience of over 30,000 landowners with designated lands has been a significant factor in recognising the major threat posed by the Nature Restoration Law.
In discussing landowners and farmers experience on designations Roddy stated “how this has been predominantly a negative one, that has seen the income potential from these lands curtailed in addition to the significant price devaluation of these lands.” Over time frustration on this has he added “turned to anger as paltry payments made through the various Agri-environment schemes were continually reduced and eventually withdrawn leaving farmers with the full financial burden of these designations.”
“Unfortunately, with ongoing calls to address this clear injustice being continually ignored, insult has been added to injury through the proposed introduction of the Nature Restoration Law that will further undermine potential income and land value” stated Roddy.
It is, he continued “vital that we immediately park the Nature Restoration Law and seek a full renegotiation of the Natura 2000 designations to ensure that this time we give equal status to the social and economic impact of these designations.”
In welcoming the political pressure that seems to be getting results around the Nature Restoration Law the INHFA Leader was anxious to see the same level of concern now focused on the ongoing impact of the Natura 2000 designations with a view to delivering a full renegotiation. It is, he stated, vital “that our politicians protect our interests from faceless bureaucrats that don’t understand or need to understand the impact of their proposals on our local communities.”
Roddy also cautioned against any compromise on the Nature Restoration Law that could see it being implemented on Natura lands only. This he stated “would be the ultimate nightmare and we are calling on all politicians to oppose any such suggestion should it appear.”
In concluding the INHFA Leader made reference to the suggestion of scaremongering by those opposed to the Nature Restoration law made by some politicians and commentators. Suggestions such as this could, he stated “only ever be made by those that never engaged with landowners especially landowners that have been left dealing with the unfair burden of the Natura 2000 designations for the last 25 years.”