Any increases in land designations will be strongly resisted by farmers, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.

It comes after the Irish Farmers Journal revealed a European Commission proposal to strictly protect land.

The EU wants 30% of all land in Europe to be designated for biodiversity and 10% of land should be defined as “strictly protected” – a move that would ban most farming practices.

The IFA will outline the detrimental effect designations are having on rural areas at a forthcoming meeting with Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.


Cullinan said the programme for government had no mention of more designations and previous heritage ministers Josepha Madigan and Heather Humphreys had given commitments there would be no more.

“In discussions with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) over the past two years on a new agreement on designated land, not once has the issue of additional designations been raised with [the] IFA,” Cullinan stressed.

“Furthermore, any State land purchases by NPWS to increase national parks will not be accepted.”


The IFA had consistently sought proper compensation for those who had restrictions placed on their land, IFA hill farming chair Flor McCarthy said.

“Current payment arrangements under locally-led or the NPWS scheme are totally inadequate, as they don’t address the fundamental issue of loss of income and the devaluation of land values,” McCarthy said.

The IFA is seeking a substantial increase to the NPWS farm plan scheme in the upcoming budget.

“We will be demanding a proper consultation on any projects that are taking place in natura areas such as the Life Nature Project in blanket bog areas in the west and northwest and the rewetting of bogs as part of the Just Transition Programme on raised midland bogs,” McCarthy concluded.

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