Nature restoration regulation: hefty task; long-term gains


A strengthening and broadening of current policy is needed to meet the objectives of the European Nature Restoration Regulation. This is the conclusion of a so-called impact assessment, an external independent advice in preparation for the implementation of the regulation. This is in line with what many other reports already showed, namely that major steps are still needed in the Netherlands in the areas of nature, nitrogen, water and climate, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture reports.

Part overlap and part complement

The reason for the Nature Restoration Regulation is that nature in the European Union is rapidly deteriorating, despite current policies and regulations. The Nature Restoration Regulation overlaps with and reinforces and expands a number of European and international rules that already apply, such as the Birds Directive, Habitats Directive, Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

 With current policy, the Netherlands is already contributing to the goals of the Nature Restoration Regulation, especially in the first period until 2030, including with the Nature Pact and the Nature Programme. Furthermore, the government has additionally made €24.3 billion available for the National Rural Area Programme and the associated Rural Area and Nature Transition Fund. 

Consequences for the Netherlands

The impact assessment is a follow-up to the previously published official foresight study and quick scan and sketches a picture of what the Nature Restoration Regulation means for the Netherlands and what approach and organisation is needed for this. Furthermore, the impact assessment provides a rough, directional estimate of the size of the social costs and benefits related to the implementation of the Nature Restoration Ordinance. These are explicitly estimates, as the exact policy assignment is still being worked out and choices about measures still have to be made. 

The consequences for the Netherlands consist of a combination of two elements: the task that stems from previously adopted European directives and regulations, but for which Dutch efforts have not been sufficient so far, and the new obligations under the Nature Restoration Regulation. 

 Substantial task, but it also delivers us a lot

Minister Van der Wal for Nature and Nitrogen: "We are doing this first and foremost to restore nature, which is in a bad way. A good and coherent national nature restoration plan will lead to lower costs in the long term and more benefits for biodiversity, food security, (drinking) water, air quality and quality of life for future generations. With nature restoration, we also create more space for new economic and social activities in the future."


Following its approval in the European Parliament last week, the nature restoration regulation must still be approved by European member states and is then expected to enter into force in April or May this year. European member states must submit a draft national nature restoration plan to the European Commission with concrete measures for the period up to 2030 and with a look ahead to 2050 within two years of the nature restoration regulation coming into force. The guiding principles here include limiting juridification and making smart combinations when using space. In the nature restoration plan, the Netherlands will also include an assessment of the condition of the ecosystems and an outline of the planning and financing of the restoration. 

The national government, provinces, municipalities, water boards and other sectors are jointly responsible for implementing the nature restoration ordinance.




Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality