Cabinet advances plan to address nitrogen issue; No clarity over 600 biggest polluters
The Cabinet is going to adopt many of the recommendations about how to tackle nitrogen emissions which were put forward by Johan Remkes, the former interior minister who led talks between the current Cabinet and representatives of the farming and agriculture sectors. Agriculture Minister Piet Adema and Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal announced the update on Friday.
They want to conclude agriculture policy agreements in the first quarter of next year after more meetings with farmers and other agricultural groups. In the short term, the focus will also be on companies that do not have the correct nitrogen permit through no fault of their own.
Remkes had advised shutting down the 500 to 600 organizations responsible for the most nitrogen emissions within a year. The ministers hinted that the deadline is not definitive. "The one-year time frame mentioned by Remkes is ambitious," said Adema and Van der Wal. The Cabinet said it will opt for a "phased approach," and wants to come up with a scheme as soon as possible.
For the time being, the Cabinet will also stick to the stated target of halving nitrogen emissions by 2030. Political unrest arose when Deputy Prime Minister and CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra said the goal was not set in stone. As Remkes recommended, there will be benchmarks that need to be reached in 2025 and 2028.
"I want farmers to feel valued again," said Adema, who has been Minister of Agriculture since the beginning of this month. "As a government, we have a lot of work to do to restore confidence. Farmers ensure a vital countryside and, in addition to the food supply, they also take care of nature."
Reporting by ANP