The EU Commission is set to look into complaints that have been made about the agri-industry’s Food Harvest 2020 expansion plan.
Fifteen Irish environmental groups complained to the commission that only an ‘ad hoc’ analysis of the environmental impact of the strategies set forward in the Harvest 2020 programme.
Under the plan, milk and pig-meat production will be increase by 50%, beef and sheep by 20%, poultry production by 10% and fish farming by 78% by 2020.
The groups say that such increases in production could have profound effects for their regions and increase Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
They also pointed out that Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is chairing the implementation committee for the plan, has failed to look into this matter even though he is legally required to do so by EU directives on the process.
A spokesman for the groups said it was “ridiculous” to form a strategy with no legally-structured regard to environmental issues and measures to “prevent, reduce and offset any significant adverse effects on the environment”.
The groups involved are An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Coastwatch Europe, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Irish Environment, Forest Friends, Global Action Plan, Hedgelaying Association of Ireland, Irish Doctors Environmental Association, Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Natural Forestry Foundation, Just Forests and the Organic Centre.