EU proposal for nature restoration measures raises criticism from business associations, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation praises – “Areas and sums of money are huge,” says MTK chairman

The legislation aims to cover at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 through nature restoration measures. Actions will be extended to all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. According to the Commission, every euro invested in nature restoration yields between € 8 and € 38.

The legislative proposal is part of the EU’s 2030 biodiversity strategy. The objectives of the previous 2020 biodiversity strategy were not met through voluntary action by Member States. The Commission therefore considers that legally binding targets at Union level are necessary to halt the loss of nature.

“Stopping the loss of nature is in a hurry. The Commission’s proposal directs EU countries to take more effective action to safeguard biodiversity in all sectors of society, ”says Minister for the Environment and Climate Maria Ohisalo in a press release from the Ministry of the Environment.

“We want to ensure the preservation of nature for future generations, and the sustainable use of natural resources is key,” says the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Antti Kurvinen in a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

According to MMM’s press release, the targets proposed by the Commission affect Finland extensively. “Many of the targets proposed by the Commission would be implemented in the agricultural and forestry sectors and would also affect fisheries,” says Kurvinen.

In addition, the effects of the Nature Restoration Act would be felt in peatlands, for example, as one of the proposed objectives is the re-watering of peatlands.

Kurvinen is satisfied with the performance. “The Commission’s proposal shows that Finland’s messages have been heard and that our wide-ranging advocacy has paid off,” he says. Kurvinen is also pleased with the flexibility proposed by the Commission for the restoration of peatlands.

“There are many peatlands in Finland, and it is important that the targets for peatlands do not impair the livelihoods or food security of rural industries.”

Opinions vary in the field of interest groups

Finnish Association for Nature Conservation welcomes the proposal. “Restoring nature is a great opportunity to repair the loss of nature and curb the climate crisis,” says SLL’s CEO Tapani Veistola . According to SLL, restoration will also bring jobs and livelihoods to the countryside.

Metsäteollisuus ry according to the proposal needs realism. The forest industry considers the proposal challenging and of enormous scale, and requires a careful overall assessment of the direct and indirect effects of the proposal.

“Promoting biodiversity and forest health is important to all of us. However, the restoration must take into account national specificities and the measures must be cost-effective, ”says Metsäteollisuus ry’s Head of EU Forest Affairs. Maija Rantamäki in the bulletin.

Energy Industry Association the proposal challenges the construction of renewable energy and grid infrastructure. “In the energy sector, the regulation could be significant for projects that require land use change, such as wind power and the construction of transmission lines,” the Energy Industry Bulletin states.

The Finnish Energy Industry Association also considers the effects of the proposal unclear. According to the Energy Industry, there is a substantial overlap between the existing protection directives and the Water Framework Directive.

From the Confederation of Agricultural and Forestry Producers the proposal is heavily criticized. “The areas and sums of money are huge. At the same time, there is a great deal of uncertainty about both the costs and especially the benefits, ”said the chairman of MTK Juha Marttila notes in the release. “Finland cannot afford an end result that would destabilize domestic agriculture and forestry.”

In its press release, MTK condemns the Commission’s approach to forestry matters, which is a matter for the Member States to decide. In addition, according to MTK, the restrictions planned specifically for the cultivation of peat fields are a matter of fate for many areas and numerous farms.

By Editor