Ireland is a laggard in terms of protection of nature and has one of the highest levels of pesticide and fertiliser use in the EU27. The Nature Restoration Law proposed by the European Commission today is intended to avoid ecosystem collapse and biodiversity loss as a result of human activity. “It’s time we learn to live with nature again and not in conflict with it” – Green MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan.
The Commission today adopted proposals to restore damaged ecosystems including agricultural land and seas. 80% of European habitats are in poor condition and in dire need of restoration measure such as rewilding, reforestation and protection from encroaching human life. The Nature Restoration Law will set restoration targets and obligations and will not be limited to areas that fall under the Habitats Directive, which so far enjoy very little effective protection in Ireland.
The Commission is also proposing a legally binding 50% reduction in chemical pesticide use which will require a serious transition in agricultural methods, with compensation available through the new Common Agricultural Policy
Speaking today from Brussels, MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan said: “Intensive land and chemical use has severely affected the ability of the planet to support human life within sustainable limits. As always I will work with my colleagues in the European Parliament to strengthen this legislation and to ensure Member States do not backtrack on their commitments to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.”
“For Ireland one of the key areas will be the protection and restoration of wetlands and peatlands. These areas of natural beauty serve us the same way the Amazon does for South America – absorbing and storing carbon while acting as a home for countless species – yet 84% of peatlands are of unfavourable status. Conservation of our oceans and seagrass forests will also be key as we have seen them warming at an alarming rate recently.”
See here for more info on the Nature Restoration proposals.