The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is delighted that MEPs today (12th July) voted to pass the Nature Restoration Law (NRL). This is a substantial step forward for the European Green Deal and while it could be more ambitious, the law has not been stopped at this critical stage in the biodiversity crisis.
The IWT laments the fact that this law has been so controversial over the past months, and that opponents resorted to such extraordinary levels of disinformation, particularly from the European People’s Party (EPP) and Fine Gael.
The vote to outright reject the law was opposed by 324 votes to 312 and there were 12 MEPs who also abstained. It comes a week after the Dáil overwhelmingly voted to support the NRL.
All Irish MEP’s voted not to reject the law.
Unfortunately, the EPP group, along with other conservative MEPs voted on several amendments which aim to significantly weaken the regulations. An amendment which dealt with conservation measures on agricultural lands was completely deleted from the proposal. The amendment stating that once an area is restored it needs to be kept in a favourable condition (non deterioration principle) was also deleted which allows for the degradation of restored habitats to occur which would result in a waste of money and effort.
However, there was an amendment on the Common Fisheries Policy which will ensure member states can put conservation measures in place to protect ecosystems in their waters, something we particularly welcome.
Grace Carr, Marine Advocacy Officer for the Irish Wildlife Trust said, “We are happy that the dangerous political games which were played by the EPP over the past few months failed and that the law was not rejected by a majority of MEPs. The amendments involving the Common Fisheries Policy are a step forward for marine restoration and biodiversity but there is still work to be done in negotiations to make the law more ambitious than it currently is.”
Grace Carr, IWT Marine Advocacy Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pádraic Fogarty IWT Campaigns Officer, email@example.com