Press release

Green Party at the heart of Nature Restoration Law approval today

17th June 2024
Nature Restoration Law

Green Party Ministers for the Environment and Nature, Eamon Ryan TD and Malcolm Noonan TD, were in Luxembourg today to declare Ireland’s support for the EU Nature Restoration Law (NRL) as the Regulation was finally approved at the EU Environment Council today (17th June 2024).

One of the keystone environmental initiatives of the European Green Deal, the NRL has now passed its final hurdle despite powerful political headwinds and a targeted misinformation campaign. Scientists, corporations and businesses, as well as millions of citizens right across Europe, have campaigned for the Regulation as vital to ensure the restoration of biodiversity across the continent.

The two Green Ministers initiated a decisive letter signed by 11 Member States calling on other Member States to join them in adopting the Nature Restoration Law proposal. It is considered that this move helped get the Regulation over the line today.

The NRL sets targets for Ireland’s most rare and precious habitats, such as ancient woodlands, blanket bogs, coastal lagoons, species-rich grasslands and dune systems. Restoring these areas will also benefit the endangered species that call them home, like the Hen Harrier, Curlew, Natterjack Toad and Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Further targets aim to improve the populations of grassland butterflies and farmland bird species within agricultural lands, to enhance the structure and diversity of commercial timber forests, and to increase tree planting and green space areas in urban environments.

Furthermore, healthy nature provides free services that underpin our societies and economies. Failure to restore ecosystems risks the security of our food and drinking water supplies, exacerbates the impacts of extreme weather such as floods and droughts, increases the potential spread of pests and diseases, and robs the wonders of the natural world, which have evolved over billions of years, from our children and grandchildren.

Speaking in Luxembourg, Minister Ryan said:

“This is a good day for nature and a good day for the millions of people who have understood and campaigned for the vital importance of protecting and restoring our natural world. It also underpins the importance of having the Green Party and the Green Group in the European Parliament. We championed the Regulation through its complicated passage to this point, but not without listening and responding to the concerns of others and bringing other politicians with us to support it.

"The only way we can protect nature and biodiversity is if we work together, in our own local communities and as a wider European community. Now our job is to ensure that there are adequate funds and supports in place to ensure that the people at the very coalface of nature protection are well paid and that their livelihoods are also protected.”

Minister of State for Nature, Malcolm Noonan TD, said:

“Ireland has led from the front on nature restoration over the last two years, and that is down to the Green Party. We negotiated hard to ensure cross-party support in Government, brought the overwhelming majority of the opposition with us, secured the votes of Irish MEPs at a critical time when we thought all might be lost, advocated for nature among our European colleagues, and delivered a Climate and Nature Fund of €3.15bn to support the implementation of the NRL at home.

"If the story of the Nature Restoration Law – which has faced down powerful political headwinds in Europe – isn’t a testament to the value of the Green Party in this Government, I don’t know what is.”

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