A new EU Nature Restoration Act that would set legally binding targets for rewetting drained peatlands under agricultural use in all member states has been criticized by Irish farmer advocates.
The proposed regulation aims to introduce “legal tools” to meet the bloc’s 2030, 2040 and 2050 biodiversity targets, as “voluntary” efforts have proven to be the main reason for the EU’s failure to reverse biodiversity loss over the past decade.
The document states that for drained peatlands used for agriculture, member states must implement “restoration measures, including rewetting, by 2030 on at least 30 percent of that area, of which at least a quarter is rewetted, and 50 percent of that area by 2040 at least that.” Half will be rewetted, and 70 percent of that land by 2050, at least half of which will be rewetted.”
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice criticized the move as “a land grab that would make Cromwell blush”.
“These rules are a clear attempt by the EU to limit land use here through the back door,” he said. “The proposals would have a particular impact on marginal and peat soils in the West, North West and South West Midlands.
“The proposed powers could result in reclaimed land being returned to wetlands in some parts of the country with no regard for landowners for loss of use or income.”
INHFA President Vincent Roddy said it was “vital” that the European Commission “limited” the proposal.
“While we all recognize the need to protect and enhance biodiversity, we must also recognize that these are part of a managed landscape that formed thousands of years ago.
“This regulation and a separate EU framework on the Soil Health Act, due to come into force in 2023, will have a significant impact on agriculture and development, including one-off housing, in rural areas and potentially herald an eventual decline in many rural communities. ”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/fitzmaurice-eu-nature-restoration-law-a-land-grab-42002375.html Fitzmaurice: EU nature conservation law “land grab”