Due to strict nitrogen and climate regulations, farming is no longer possible in areas of long-term vulnerability. This is what the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency says in a recommendation to a subsequent cabinet.
In the decades to come, agriculture will face increasingly stringent nitrogen regulations. The town planning office, which conducts research on the consequences of policy in the field of the environment, nature and land use planning, warns of the profound consequences in certain areas. It would be an “unprecedented transformation of rural space”.
Honest about the consequences
In some regions, for example, there will be no more room for livestock and arable crops. Not even when farms are making adjustments, like adapting stables or distributing different feeds for the animals.
The new cabinet must be honest about the implications for agriculture, according to the planning office. Because the rules will have a major impact on the tens of thousands of farmers who live and work in these areas.
In early March, the House of Representatives passed a law stating that nitrogen emissions should be phased out over the coming years. More measures are also being taken to protect nature.
The town planning office concludes that the current nitrogen approach is insufficiently focused on places where nature is in the worst conditions, such as the raised marshes in the east and south of the country. By taking arbitrary nitrogen measurements, the quality of nature can nevertheless deteriorate there. It is most effective to take measurements in areas where the quality of nature is deteriorating the fastest, the PBL says.
Several peasant organizations are planning to demonstrate again next Wednesday. Action groups are angry with the government’s nitrogen policy, which wants to significantly reduce nitrogen emissions from agriculture in the years to come. The plan of nitrogen experts, who among other things advising the agriculture ministry to buy back farmers near vulnerable nature reserves, is also the subject of much criticism from the sector.
The Agractie and Farmers Defense Force (FDF) action groups participate, among others. Demonstrations are planned on the Malieveld in The Hague as well as in the region. Details of the actions are not yet known.
The PBL report is not a new nitrogen plan, but an opinion based on the different nitrogen and climatic needs. Last week, a report was released in which experts plead for an unambiguous approach to nitrogen, climate and biodiversity issues in rural areas.