Environmental Pillar questions credibility of sustainability report on Food Harvest 2020

The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of 26 national environmental groups, is casting serious doubts on the findings of a report commissioned by the Minister for Agriculture on the environmental impacts of Food Harvest 2020.

Cows; Photo credit: Richard Webb

The Environmental Pillar is calling for a commitment from government to re-assess its Food Harvest 2020 policy which committed the country to massive growth in Ireland’s agricultural production without first assessing the impacts this would have on Ireland’s environmental sustainability.

“We welcome the publication of the report today and the associated public consultation period,’ said Cillian Lohan, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar.

“However the conclusions of the report, which state that the impacts on our waters, biodiversity, soils and climate will be slight or negligible, are just not credible. These conclusions are based on a fantasy world in which all farmers use best available technology and obey all the rules regarding environmental protection,” Mr Lohan continued.

“The report also skates over the very likely impact of Food Harvest 2020 on the high nature value farms where more extensive rather than intensive farming is the norm. The omission of ‘stress testing’ of the massive growth planned for aquaculture is another example of where the report lacks credibility.”

Mr Lohan urges anyone with an opinion on the report, Environmental Analysis of Scenarios Related to the Implementation of Recommendations in Food Harvest 2020, to give feedback through the 8-week public consultation process which begins today.