EU parliament agrees landmark Nature Restoration Law

13th July 2023


The European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of a new Nature Restoration Law, although green groups have argued that it is substantially weaker than the European Commission’s original proposal.

The amended law passed by a narrow margin, with 336 MEPs voting in favour, 300 against, and 13 abstentions; overcoming resistance from the centre-right European People's Party.

It states that nature restoration measures must cover at least 20% of all land and sea in the EU by 2030, and ultimately all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

This is an essential component of the European Green Deal, with EU countries expected to submit national restoration plans to the Commission within two years of the regulation coming into force.

“Farmers and fishers will benefit from it, and it ensures a habitable earth for future generations," said César Luena, member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

“Now we must continue the good work, defend our ground during the negotiations with member states and reach an agreement before the end of this Parliament’s mandate to pass the first regulation on nature restoration in the EU's history.”

Over 80% of European habitats are in poor shape, with the European Commission arguing that the new regulation will contribute to long-term recovery, and that every €1 invested will result in at least €8 in benefits.

However, WWF EU said that yesterday’s vote “came at a very high cost”, with MEPs sacrificing many critical obligations and targets as part of a compromise.

For example, they adopted an amendment which would delay the implementation of the law until an assessment of the impact on Europe’s food security has been conducted - responding to a “scare-mongering campaign” conducted by the EPP and “far-right groups”.

A further element of weakening is the removal of the article guaranteeing the fundamental right of access to justice, risking more violations of the Aarhus Convention and an uneven playing field across member states.

Speaking yesterday, Sabien Leemans, senior biodiversity policy officer at WWF EU, said: “It is thanks to massive support from the public, the scientific community and progressive businesses that a majority of MEPs voted in favour of the law.

"Still, today’s win came at a high cost. Even with an unprecedented mobilisation to save Europe’s nature, the Parliament’s position is far from what science tells us is necessary to tackle nature loss and climate change.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

The biophilic effect

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

All major housing developments in England will be required by law to deliver at least a 10% increase in biodiversity under new rules that came into force today.

12th February 2024

Read more

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Born Free Foundation, co-founder Will Travers OBE tells Chris Seekings how a new approach to conservation is needed to end animal suffering

1st February 2024

Read more

Ajirioghene Samuel looks at some exciting tree-planting initiatives, offering nature-based solutions to climate change impacts

1st February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close