Press Release: Essential Nature Restoration Law Survives EU Negotiations

Nov 10

Essential Nature Restoration Law Survives EU Negotiations

EU Trilogue Negotiations have concluded on the Nature Restoration Law. Although ambition has been weakened from the original vision for this law, it is now a step closer to becoming a reality and supporting Ireland’s efforts to save nature. The Irish Wildlife Trust has called for Member States, MEPs and the public to continue supporting this law in its final stages.

Negotiations between the EU Parliament, EU Commission and the Council concluded late last night in Brussels. The three institutions came to an agreement on the text of the Nature Restoration Law. The text is not as strong as the Commission’s original proposal, however all ecosystems (including agriculture which was previously deleted from the Parliaments text) have been included, albeit with many loopholes.

Some initial points from the text – 

  • Restoration of terrestrial (land based) ecosystems is not restricted to just existing protected sites (sites already designated as protected under the EU Birds and Habitats Directive). This will allow member states to act with more ambition however loopholes were added which can be used to decrease the total area to be restored.  
  • While agricultural ecosystems were added back into the text, there has also been the addition of an ‘emergency break’. This means restoration efforts can be stopped in the event of unforeseeable and exceptional events outside the EU’s control. Rewetting targets have been reduced but included in the text. These targets will be voluntary to farmers and private landowners and there has been an improvement in the language stating that Member States must make rewetting an attractive option for them.
  • The non-deterioration requirement (which is to ensure that once an ecosystem is restored, it is kept in favourable environmental condition) has also been weakened by making it effort based rather than results based. Hence it is no longer linked to results being achieved for nature on the ground.
  • A finance mechanism is in place for funding restoration in Member states. The Commission must present a proposal on adequate financial measures one year after the NRL comes into force.


The final text has not yet been released and so we do not know the full outcome as of yet. The next steps for this law will be an EU Parliament Environment Committee (ENVI committee) vote at the end of November after which the law must be passed by a majority of MEPs in the full sitting of the European Parliament.

While the text will not be as strong as the original proposal, this is still the first ever binding EU law to restore 20% of European land and seas by 2030. Restoration of our damaged and degraded habitats is essential if we are to save nature within Ireland and Europe and secure the many direct benefits nature provides society such as crop pollination, flood prevention and soil health. The Irish Wildlife Trust is calling on Member States, MEPs and the public to continue supporting this law in its final stages.

Grace Carr, Marine Advocacy Officer at the Irish Wildlife Trust said ‘It is a relief to know that a deal has been struck, although a much weakened version will not be enough to combat the biodiversity and climate crisis we are facing. It is important that there will be timelines in place to restrict destructive fishing practices in the EU and that Member States show the ambition and resolution needed to ensure targets are met on land and sea.’

Media Contact: 

Grace Carr, IWT Marine Advocacy Officer, / +447575775788