Nobody doubts the desirability of having a safe, healthy and diverse environment in Europe. There is already a large body of work underlying EU environment policy. For example, there is a list detailing over 460 species of birds, while another outlines the 1,389 species of flora and fauna occupying 233 rare and characteristic habitat types. The most important habitats for pollinating insects are listed as grassland, some types of scrubland and heath land. We are all familiar with the special areas of conservation label attached to some land.

We can expect these areas to grow and the aspirations for them to increase, as well as the supervision their owners will be subjected to.

For the medium term, the aim is to have 20% of the EU land subject to a restoration programme by 2030 and all systems in need of restoration to be in an approved programme by 2050.

So, member states will have to develop restoration programmes with assessments of existing condition, restoration planning, reporting and financing. Rivers have already been included in this type of approach and now agro systems, especially crop land, are specifically to be included. Also included are particular references for extensive rewetting of peatlands. National governments are going to have to submit plans within two years. While this is all very well and there is a mention of the need for food production, the desirability of financial incentives and the importance of property rights, we can’t be in any doubt that the main driver is the push for environmental improvement.

It is not clear where compensation for those most affected will come from.

The EU is entering into a phase where there will be large new demands on its budget, especially for defence and to make provision for Ukraine and other new countries due to become members.

The Irish Government will have to form alliances with other like-minded administrations and, given our relative budgetary strength, press for maximum state aid flexibility. Teagasc will also have to have relevant expertise to counter the likely extreme positions that are probably going to be adopted by some environmental campaigners.

In the Irish case, the Department of Agriculture will have to be the lead Department if the new regime is to have any credibility among farmers.