Concerns have been raised on the EU nature restoration law’s absence of new funding streams since the European Parliament voted to on Tuesday morning.

Voting saw 11 of Ireland’s 13 MEPs back the law, which will require the State to restore 30% of degraded habitats to good condition by 2030, with this target to rise to 60% by 2040 and 90% by 2050.

The habitats covered by the law vary widely and include grasslands, forests, peatlands, rivers and lakes.

Sinn Féin’s only MEP Chris MacManus and independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan were the two who voted against the law.

MacManus stated that his party sought a workaround to farmers’ concerns, but deemed the final version of the law to not sufficiently address these fears.


“The areas that we examined closely included ensuring that any activities are voluntary - not mandatory - and that there is public participation in our own national plan from start to finish,” the midlands-northwest MEP claimed.

“More importantly, we wanted clarity and assurances on long-term permanent funding as a source of income for farmers, fishers, foresters and others for dedicated nature restoration to ensure generation renewal.”

MacManus had voted in favour of the law when Parliament had a chance to scrap the nature restoration law in July 2023.

But the MEP said that his support had been dependent on securing changes which meant small farmers and farmers in the west “would not have to bear the heaviest burden” and that these amendments had not materialised.

IFA concern

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) echoed concerns on the absence of a dedicated funding stream for actions carried out to achieve the targets set out in the law.

Commenting after the vote, IFA president Francie Gorman detailed the association’s three central issues - uncertainty on the law’s impact on farmland, a lack of clarity on the law’s definitions and the funding gap.

“Even though legitimate farmer concerns have not been adequately addressed, the EU has pushed ahead with the introduction of the nature restoration law,” Gorman said.

While recognising “some important changes” made to the law since the European Commission initially proposed it in June 2022, the “law is still flawed” he added.

Not in ‘real world’

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) president Denis Drennan claimed that the passing of the nature restoration law shows a “widening credibility gap” between the EU and the “real world of farming”.

Drennan questioned whether farmland would have to return to the condition it was in “pre-production” for land to be deemed restored under the law.

He accused the law’s supporters of taking the position that ‘we can cross the funding bridge when we come to it’.

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MEPs push EU nature restoration law past final hurdle