Updated: 08/12/16 : 12:55:11
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EU fitness check- a missed opportunity

IFA Regional Chairman Padraic Joyce has described the EU fitness check on the Birds and Habitats Directive as a missed opportunity to address the serious problems that farmers and landowners have with designation of lands.

This fitness check, which was started in 2014 by EU Environment Commissioner Vella, has proved to be of no value to farmers or landowners where designations have been imposed resulting in income losses and devaluation of their property, Padraic Joyce pointed out.

Continuing, the IFA Regional Chairman said that the EU Commission, with member states, must put in place a proper compensation scheme for farmers who have been restricted in their farming activity and where developments have been stopped. There are many examples of this throughout the country such as in hill areas, hen harrier areas, and areas adjacent to rivers where remedial works are required to address flooding.

Padraic Joyce said that it is up to Heritage Minister, Heather Humphreys to put in place a proper compensation scheme for farmers. In addition, restrictions that have been imposed in certain areas such as hen harriers where forestry and wind-farming has been curtailed, must be addressed.

Padraic Joyce said that the European Commission and the Irish Government must realise that there must be no designations without having a proper compensation scheme in place. Previous compensation arrangements with Government have been reneged upon and must now be restored.