Environment Reports

Environment & Rural Affairs Council Report April 2021

Activity since last National Council 

  • IFA made a submission to The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) on the Shared Island Consultation: Climate and Biodiversity Challenges and Opportunities.  In the submission IFA stated that local wealth building, resilience and just transition in rural communities should be prioritised in a shared island context. It stated that successful agricultural transformation can deliver in other areas; climate, biodiversity and renewable energy. It also pointed out that attention should be paid to the financial vulnerability of many farms and it should be ensured that a short-term and long-term vulnerability assessment of the sector is undertaken to determine the impact of any proposed changes. A copy of the submission is enclosed. 
  • IFA made a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on the 2nd March in relation to Bord na Móna’s peatland rehabilitation plans to rewet designated areas of bogs and the potential implications for neighbouring farms. A second meeting of the established IFA and Bord na Móna working group will be held on the 15th April.
    • A dedicated PCAS website has been established: https://www.bnmpcas.ie/, to read through the draft rehabilitation plans for the 19 projects planned for 2021, click here or to talk with Conor Feighery,  Community Liaison on M. 087 3779841 (09:00-17:30)  or E. [email protected].  
  • IFA attended a presentation from the Department of Agriculture to the Fertiliser Association of Ireland. The presentation covered topics including derogation issues and Ag Climatise. 
  • IFA attended Water Forum meetings including a catchment subcommittee meeting.
  • IFA presented and attended the Nature Bilateral Dialogue for Ireland organised by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH). 
  • IFA attended the Environmental Assessment workshop CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 organised by DAFM.  
  • IFA is in negotiations with Transport Industry Ireland (TII) on the draft Code of Best Practice and Guide for National Greenway Projects. Several meetings have taken place and the draft code is nearly finalised and negotiations have started on compensation. 
    • IFA made presentations on the Greenway Code of Practice to Roscommon and Galway County Executives.
  • IFA has sought a meeting with DAFM on nitrates to discuss issues including Nitrates Action Plan (NAP), online Slurry Movement System (Record 3’s) and nitrates derogation. 
  • Work is ongoing in developing a series of carbon guidance documents looking at emission in agriculture, legislative framework, emission trading etc. As part of this series a guidance document on carbon farming has been completed.
  • IFA attended a Agri-Food Industry stakeholders’ workshop to hear your views on the establishment of a National Agricultural GHG centre organised by Teagasc. 
  • The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 was published on 23rd March. The Bill provides for the approval of plans by the Government in relation to climate change for the purpose of pursuing the transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity rich and climate neutral economy by no later than the end of the year 2050. 
    • To achieve the national climate objective, sector specific actions will be included in the annual carbon budgets programme, climate action plan (5-years), national long-term action strategy (10 years) and national adaption framework. 
    • Each local authority is also required to develop a Climate Action Plan that is consistent with carbon budgets, climate action plan and national long-term action strategy. 
    • The Government has launched a public consultation “Climate Conversation” on the Climate Action Plan 2021. The closing date for submission is 18th May 2021. For more information on the public consultation click here.
    • IFA issued press release to reiterated farmers commitment to reducing emissions. 
  • IFA had meeting with Bernard Hyde, EPA on the National Inventory Report 2020 (Greenhouse Gas Emission 1990 to 2018). 
  • IFA published the results of the 2020 Smart Farming programme which saw an average cost saving of €5,600 and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 9%. A press release was issued with details of the programme as part of the 2021 programme launch. 
    • Updated Smart Farming Energy and Grassland guidance notes were also published.
    • IFA held an online briefing webinar for farmers interested in participating in the Smart Farming programme on 1st April. Over 40 farmers attended on the night. IFA is seeking interested farmers to participate in the 2021 programme and getting a free cost saving for their farm, if you are interested you can register online here or contact Edel McEvoy 01 426 0343. 
    • Save the Date 22nd April: The Smart Farming Spring Seminar will be held live, online on World Earth day.

Any EU/COPA developments

  • The European Commission presented an action plan for the development of organic production on the 25th March with a target to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.
  • There is a public consultation on the new Soil Strategy, closing date for submissions 29th April 2021. 

Upcoming issues

  • Continue discussions with Bord na Móna to deliver on proposals set out in IFA submissions.
  • Submission to be made to the Climate Action Plan 2021 deadline 18th May.
  • Meeting with DAFM on NAP, online slurry system and nitrates derogation.

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