Moves to establish an agreed position among the farm organisations on the nature restoration law are gathering pace, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

An alliance of rural TDs and farmer representatives are attempting to agree an alternate text for the law, which would seek to take the compulsory element out of the controversial legislation and make compliance with the law optional for farmers. The Irish amendment seeks to remove the obligation on farmers to re-wet drained peatlands or restore former habitats on ground that is now farmed.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has written to the other farm organisations seeking support for the initiative.

The move has already secured the support of Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice and Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae.

It is expected that a final wording for the Irish amendment will be agreed by Christmas. Ireland’s MEPs will then be lobbied to support the amendment. The law will be voted on by the European Parliament on 22 February.

The Irish farm organisations have expressed concern regarding the manner in which designations under the law will operate and that there is no budget to compensate land owners for the designations.

In addition, the farm bodies are worried that lands designated under the law will no longer be classified as agricultural ground, and will therefore be ineligible for direct payments.