Farmers could be required to raise groundwater levels on drained agricultural peatlands to “near or at ground level” under a forthcoming EU law on rewetting.
na new draft compromise text for the EU Commission’s Nature Restoration Regulation – aimed at restoring degraded ecosystems, increasing biodiversity and mitigating climate change – The European Council proposes that the definition of “peatland rewetting” should mean:
“A targeted measure aimed at bringing the groundwater level of a drained bog back to that of the peat-forming bog; the bog will be rewetted when the mean annual water table is near or at the soil surface.”
The government remains concerned about the impact of the proposed regulation, which says member states must introduce remediation measures on 30 per cent of drained agricultural peatlands by 2030, with a quarter rewetted, to 50 per cent by 2040, with half rewetted , and to 70 percent by 2050, with half being rewetted.
Although it has been confirmed that some of this rewetting may occur on peat lands, including the Bord na Móna bogs, Ireland has only 827 square kilometers of peat lands, while grassland use on drained peat lands is approximately 3,300 square kilometers.
The INHFA will seek clarification on the proposed definition at a meeting with the Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment in Brussels today.
INHFA President Vincent Roddy said: “Our concern is the definitions of ‘bog rewetting’ and ‘mounds’. As farmers we could not work with the definition proposed by the Council, it would essentially take 350,000 ha of reclaimed peatland out of agricultural production, which could create food security issues.”
“Are the hills defined as ‘habitat’ or ‘agricultural ecosystem’? If you take ‘agriculture’ out of the definition you are one step away from phasing out CAP payments, so there is a big risk there.”
Regarding the proposed definition of “moorland rewetting”, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said: “There are concerns about the challenges posed by the impact, timing, equity considerations and enforceability of the current version of the proposed regulation. We will continue to work to ensure that Ireland’s specific land use context is fully recognized and incorporated into the text of the Regulations as it evolves over the coming months.”
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said: “Proposals need to be mindful of the potential impact on food security and rural communities and considering Ireland’s extensively grazed grassland system.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farmer-alarm-at-eus-proposed-rewetting-regulations-42180647.html Farmers are alarmed by proposed EU rewetting rules