Council reaches agreement on the nature restoration law

The Council reached an agreement (general approach) on a proposal for a nature restoration law. The proposal aims to put in place recovery measures that will cover at least 20 % of the EU’s land and 20 % sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. It sets specific legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in each of the listed ecosystems - from agricultural land and forest to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems.

The general approach will serve as a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation.

The Council’s text sets a balance between keeping ambitious goals for nature restoration and providing flexibility for member states in the implementation of the regulation, while keeping a level-playing field and reducing administrative burden.

The Council agreed that member states would put in place restoration measures that bring at least 30% of habitats in terrestrial, coastal, freshwater and marine ecosystems that are not in good condition, into good condition by 2030. This would apply to at least 30% of the total area of the habitat types that are deemed not in good condition, as opposed to the area for each habitat group, as initially proposed by the Commission.

Member states would however set restoration measures on at least 60% by 2040 and on at least 90 % by 2050 of the area of each habitat group that is not in good condition.

Member states added an exception for marine areas that have soft sediment habitats. For soft sediments, member states will be able to apply a lower percentage for the targets and the 2030 target would not apply.