An Taisce calls into question the environmental assessments of the agrifood strategy –
An Taisce questioned the “robustness” of the environmental assessments accompanying the agri-food strategy and their compliance with European legislation.
The environmental awareness organization expressed its concern in its brief to the public consultation on the environmental assessment of the Agri-Food Strategy Project for 2030.
Regarding this submission, he said he had “serious concerns about the assessment standard for both strategic environmental assessment and appropriate assessment.”
Included in his submission, An Taisce requested the necessary scientific evidence to show that there would be no adverse effects on Natura 2000 sites as a result of the strategy.
“We are of the opinion that the Natura Impact Statement (NIS), as presented, does not provide the scientific evidence and the level of certainty necessary for the decision maker to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the plan or the project will not have a negative impact. on Natura 2000 sites ”, he declared.
He added that the mitigation measures are “vague, non-binding and do not present a detailed analysis of how they will counteract the ongoing declines of Irish natural sites due to agricultural practices, as the Nationals have acknowledged. Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) and the introduction of this SNI ”.
What is Natura 2000?
Spanning over 18% of the EU’s land area and over 8% of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It offers refuge to the most valuable and endangered species and habitats in Europe. Source: European Commission.
An Taisce said that there is a “dependence on existing measures, which have proved ineffective in protecting Natura 2000 sites from agriculture”.
He added that there is also a dependence on plans and strategies that have yet to be proven effective.
“We reiterate that the SNI has specifically emphasized that actions within the agrifood strategy are essential to determine the future direction of these impact pathways, and that the agrifood strategy addresses all these issues in detail and provides appropriate mechanisms for reduce and counteract the pathways of impact.
“We stress that this is clearly not the case, and no such evidence is provided in the SNI document before us.
“As such, the potential impact has been identified, the importance of mitigation measures has been emphasized, but no sufficient mitigation measures have been provided. Therefore, we argue that this is an obvious failure in the NIS document.
“We are of the opinion that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Marine cannot approve Agri-Food 2030 from a legal point of view, because the SNI does not provide the necessary legal certainty as requires this in Article 6 (3) of the Habitats Directive.
“To do so would be contrary to the Habitats Directive and could be subject to legal challenge on these grounds. ”