The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to grant its seal of approval to the EU Nature Restoration Law in a vote which represented the final hurdle to the proposals becoming law.

Some 11 of Ireland’s 13 MEPs backed the law which passed by 329 votes to 275 and with 24 abstentions.

The two who voted against it were Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan and Sinn Féin’s MEP Chris MacManus.

The formality of final backing from member states next month will see legally binding habitat restoration targets imposed on all member states.

Ireland will have to restore 30% of degraded habitats to good condition by 2030, with this target to rise to 60% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.

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

It will require at least 30% of drained peatlands to be restored by 2030 – at least a quarter of which should be rewetted – with the peatland targets increasing to 40% of such lands by 2040 and 50% by 2050, with a third rewetted.

The law provides an “emergency brake” for targets related to agricultural ecosystems which allows targets to be suspended under “exceptional circumstances” where the land needed for EU food production is “severely” reduced.

After members states approve the law, Ireland will have two years to draft a national restoration plan outlining which measures are to be put in place on which lands to meet its 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets.


This will involve both a public consultation and stakeholder consultation, with the latter expected to open over the coming months.

No new funding streams are provided for in order to roll out environmental measures under the law.

The impact on farmers is set to be determined by how much of each habitat’s targets can be met on State lands, as well as what will constitute a habitat returning from “poor” to “good” condition.