Strict nitrogen rules will make farming impossible in parts of NL: PBL
The Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) has warned that adopting the new nitrogen policy to achieve climate protection goals would make agriculture and livestock farming impossible in a number of Dutch provinces. "A choice for these stricter goals means an unprecedented transformation of the rural area in the Netherlands," PBL argued.
The Dutch parliament passed a law in March this year requiring the country's nitrogen emissions to be cut in half over the following ten years. The quantity of nitrogen that winds up in natural reserves must be lowered fast to comply with the law.
PBL has argued that the tension between goals, strategy and consequences will be less acute if the national goal is not about nitrogen, but instead about area-specific nature quality. The European directives offer scope for this and an area-specific approach would be more appropriate, they stated.
"A one-sided focus on generic reduction of nitrogen deposition can lead to sub-optimal results, despite expensive measures," the PBL wrote in their report. In the short term, the PBL would prefer that focus is given to places where nitrogen limitations have been exceeded and the quality of the environment is worsening.
"For nitrogen measures, short-term priority can be placed around areas where the quality of nature is deteriorating and where critical deposition values are exceeded," PBL stated.
Furthermore, a different approach is also not in line with the objectives of the European Habitat Directive, PBL stressed.