An intense lobby of Irish MEPs is under way as the European Parliament prepares for a crucial vote on the nature restoration law.

The regulation gives force to the EU Nature Restoration Law (NRL), which stipulates that a significant proportion of Ireland’s drained peatlands must be rewet and restored by 2050.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has expressed serious concern that the law will have a disastrous impact on those working hill farms and peat soils, and has called on Ireland’s 13 MEPs to vote it down in Strasbourg next Wednesday.

The INHFA claimed it will restrict farming activity on 1.2m hectares of upland and farmed peatland, or 30% of Ireland’s total agricultural area.

It rejected the assertion that amendments to the original text of the law – which made rewetting voluntary – had effectively neutered the legislation.

“Rewetting isn’t voluntary because restoration isn’t voluntary; the only way to deliver restoration of peatlands is by rewetting them,” INHFA leader Vincent Roddy pointed out.

Describing the law as “the biggest land grab since Cromwell”, Roddy said it would have a profound impact on Irish farming and rural Ireland.

“The full impact and implications of the NRL may not be seen until after 2030, but farming and rural communities will rue the day this legislation was enacted,” he said.

Most Irish MEPs are expected to vote for the regulation next Wednesday. However, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has confirmed that he will not support the regulation because dedicated funding to compensate affected farmers has not been put in place at EU or national level.