At a meeting between the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) and Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan, the farm lobby group strongly advised the new Minister to put on the Green Jersey and battle hard on behalf of Irish Farmers to resist further EU Land designations, proposed in the Commissions Biodiversity Strategy .
The INHFA President Colm O’Donnell outlined to the Minister that the Biodiversity Strategy has indicated that criteria and guidance for the Designation process for additional lands including a definition for Strict Protection is due to be lodged with the EU commission before the end of 2020. The INHFA President reiterated that his organisation will fight tooth and nail against this happening.
The farm leader stated “that the current Natura 2000 land designations is a failed policy and pointed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) reporting to the Commission. They have reported that a very high percentage of the wildlife species and habitats are in decline since the Nature Directives were introduced twenty years ago”.
“At our meeting with Minister Noonan”, continued O Donnell, “we asked him to consider incentives to promote Biodiversity at farm level rather than imposing further designations and Strict Protection criteria on farmland and onto farmers who are extremely worried that they may lose the ability and freedom to farm their lands”.