No private lands will need to be re-wetted – Minister

MINISTER for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, has moved to reassure farmers that all nature restoration measures will be voluntary.

The adoption of the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) early last week by the Council of the EU came in for severe criticisms from the main farming organisations and some public representatives.

However, Minister McConalogue, said that he and the Government had secured ‘additional flexibilities’ in the legal text of the NRL to both support farmers and to recognise the specific Irish circumstances which applied.

This had resulted, he said, in a reduction of the targets – from the original proposal – for restoration and rewetting of drained organic soils.

“This means the total area for restoration now targets 50% of such area by 2050, rather than 70% as originally proposed, with a third to be rewetted, rather than a half.

“In addition, other flexibilities have been secured, including an emergency break provision to suspend implem- entation in agriculture in the event of circumstances with severe consequences on food security,” said the Minister.

He also stated that the legal obligations to achieve NRL targets was on Member States [of the EU] and on individual landowners while the rewetting target for drained organic soils had been revised downwards from 332,900 hectares to 141,000ha.

“With the existing national commitments to rewet 33,000ha of Bord na Móna lands, these lands are sufficient to deliver the NRL rewetting targets without recourse to privately owned land to 2050.

Pictured: MINISTER for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue


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