Actions carried out by farmers to improve biodiversity are to come under greater scrutiny by the Department of Agriculture.

The proposal is contained in Ireland’s draft national biodiversity action plan, which is currently out for public consultation.

The plan states that by 2027, measures for biodiversity implemented under the CAP are to be monitored for their impact and efficacy. The Department of Agriculture will monitor and report on these actions.

The Department of Agriculture is also to review the environmental impact assessment regulations for agriculture by 2025 under the proposed plan.

Furthermore, by 2023, the Origin Green programme is to track and report farm and company member actions on biodiversity on an annual basis.

To meet this target, Bord Bia and relevant departments will work to ensure that the Origin Green programme produces measurable benefits for biodiversity. This will include the farming for nature programme, in collaboration with the all-Ireland pollinator plan and other initiatives.

Designated land

The Department of Heritage is to complete the selection and notification of sites for the protection of annex habitats and species listed on the EU habitats and birds directives.

It is also to publish “detailed site-specific conservation objectives” for all special areas of conservation (SACs) and special protection areas (SPAs) by 2024.

Another target contained in the report is that in line with the EU biodiversity strategy, habitats and species under the habitats and birds directives are to “show no deterioration in conservation trends and status by 2030, and at least 30% of those not in favourable status will reach that status or show a positive trend”.

The Department of Heritage is to work to ensure that support for farming for nature is “appropriately resourced to enhance the number of farmers in such schemes”.

Invasive species

By 2030, invasive species are to be controlled, managed and, where possible, eliminated from Ireland.

In order to do this, the Department of Heritage is to establish an invasive alien species unit to “expedite implementation of the legislative and policy framework, including specific resources for enforcement”.