As Nature Restoration Law gets “stuck again” – ICMSA call for complete reassessment.

The decision of the EU Environment Council not to proceed with a vote on the proposed EU Nature Restoration Act was absolutely correct and the continuing reservations about the excesses of the law must lead to a complete re-assessment of both the NRL and the ‘heavy-handed and one-sided’ EU Agri-environment policy that was the basis for this demonstrably flawed and unpopular proposal according to Denis Drennan, President of ICMSA. He said that it was not too late to replace that unpopular and unworkable intrusive model with something that was more collaborative and which would position farmers not as the obstacle to the environment – but as partners with both rights as well as obligations.

“I don’t know how many times the Nature Restoration Law has to get stuck before its sponsors recognise that it’s just not going to work because there are too many reservations about it – all of which are fully justified. ICMSA’s position is not an anti-environment; in fact it’s the direct opposite. We accept that we have to protect the environment, but we genuinely believe that a collaborative approach between the EU, national governments and farmers that respects the position and rights of farmers, and utilises their unique skills, has a much better chance of succeeding. It certainly has a much better chance of succeeding than this present and discredited policy of regulation after regulation and an unwillingness to face up to the need to end the ‘Cheap Food’ policy or demand of foreign imports the same environmental standards you impose on your own EU farmers”, said Mr. Drennan.

Mr. Drennan said that EU agri-environment policy needs to be reset, it needs to acknowledge that environment policy cannot succeed without proper engagement and a budget, and it needs to recognise that farmers must be at its centre – as partners – for success to be achieved.  He said that that for too long, the EU and the Government have been trying to implement environmental policy ‘on the cheap’, have failed to recognise the genuine concerns of farmers and he said that the reality that had the EU’s Nature Restoration Act stuck again was a perfect demonstration of this failed policy. 

“The current policy is failing while at the same time-wasting billions across the EU on assessments and consultants. We need to move away from this model and start investing these billions in the environment, in the farmers and communities who steward it, and reset EU agri-environment policy away from this failing antagonistic attitude to farmers where they are treated instead as partners in the drive to protect the environment in which we all have an interest”, concluded Mr. Drennan.

Ends      27 March 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office