The European Parliament and Council have agreed a stringent new Restoration Law
EU Nature restoration law: MEPs strike deal to restore 20% of EU’s land and sea
- EU countries must restore at least 30% of habitat areas covered by the new law by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050
- Targets to restore drained peatlands to reduce agricultural sector emissions and improve biodiversity
- Emergency brake included whereby provisions for agricultural ecosystems can be temporarily suspended under exceptional circumstances
Negotiators from the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional political agreement on a new EU nature restoration law. The agreement, reached late on yesterday evening, Thursday 09 November, sets ambitious targets to restore ecosystems and biodiversity, aiming to address the pressing issue of biodiversity loss.
Key Targets and Provisions:
– Habitat Restoration: EU countries are mandated to restore at least 20% of both land and sea areas by 2030 and achieve full restoration of all ecosystems in need by 2050. The restoration targets for habitat areas under the new law are set at 30% by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050.
– National Restoration Plans: Member states must adopt national restoration plans through an open, transparent, and inclusive process. Priority is given to areas in Natura 2000 sites until 2030. Once an area achieves a good condition, efforts should be made to prevent significant deterioration.
– Agricultural Ecosystems: To address the impact of agriculture on nature, countries will implement measures to achieve positive trends in indicators like the grassland butterfly index and organic carbon in cropland mineral soil by 2030 and every six years thereafter.
– Peatland Restoration: Recognizing the effectiveness of peatland restoration in reducing emissions and enhancing biodiversity, EU countries are required to restore drained peatlands on at least 30% of such areas by 2030, 40% by 2040, and 50% by 2050. Rewetting is encouraged but remains voluntary for farmers and landowners.
– Pollinator Protection: EU countries must reverse the decline of pollinator populations by 2030 and ensure an increasing trend thereafter.
– Other Ecosystem Measures: By 2030, EU countries will work towards positive trends in indicators for forest ecosystems, plant three billion trees, and restore at least 25,000 km of rivers into free-flowing ones.
– Urban Green Space: Countries are obligated to maintain the total national area of urban green space and urban tree canopy cover by 2030, with increases thereafter.
– Emergency Brake: An emergency brake mechanism allows the suspension of targets for agricultural ecosystems under exceptional circumstances if they severely impact EU-wide land availability for agricultural production.
Financial Considerations and Next Steps:
- Within 12 months of the regulation entering into force, the European Commission will assess any financial gaps in restoration needs and available EU funding.
- The deal is yet to be adopted by the Parliament and Council. Once adopted, the law will be published in the EU Official Journal and take effect 20 days later.
César Luena, the rapporteur, emphasised the significance of the agreement, highlighting the need for a European law for nature restoration to address biodiversity loss. He expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts of the Commission, the Spanish Presidency of the Council, and parliamentary groups, especially the progressive groups, saying:
“The agreement reached today is a significant collective moment. 70 years after the European project began, a European law for nature restoration is needed to address biodiversity loss. Today’s agreement was possible thanks to the initiative and commitment of the Commission, the negotiating role of the Spanish Presidency of the Council, which prioritised this issue, and the understanding attitude of the parliamentary groups, especially the progressive groups, who have been able to work together and compromise to ensure the existence of a nature restoration law. Furthermore, I want to highlight and express gratitude for the crucial role played by the group of the social democrats in these negotiations, as without the unity of the S&D Group in support of this law, we would not be celebrating the adoption of an agreement today.”
Source: Press Release