Provincial officials sound alarm over nitrogen policy after Cabinet consultations
After days of crisis consultations in the Cabinet, the provinces must now deal with the heatedly discussed nitrogen policy. This was the decision reached by Prime Minister Rutte and Deputy Prime Ministers Kaag and Hoekstra on Friday evening. But from the provinces' point of view, this is an impossible undertaking and they could not yet "get down to work," NOS reported.
The Dutch prime minister announced after the Cabinet negotiations that the following was certain: on the one hand, the Cabinet had not fallen, and on the other hand, there would be a "pause" in the matter of nitrogen policy. Subsequently, after this paused interlude, the nitrogen policy is to be renegotiated again, as the CDA wants to move away from the agreements in the coalition agreement. Until that is not clarified, the provinces are now to take a hand in the issue of nitrogen policy, and at a brisk pace, said Prime Minister Rutte.
Mirjam Sterk, deputy for the CDA in Utrecht is looking forward to getting to work, however, she does not have the tools to create plans with the farmers. For her, this is therefore not possible. “Because farm relocations? There are no plans for that yet." Innovations? "It's not clear if these will hold up in court," she told NOS. Therefore, a swift pace in the implementation of the nitrogen policy, as announced by Prime Minister Rutte, is still a far away prospect, according to Sterk.
Also CDA colleague Eddy van Hijum in Overijssel pointed out that regarding rules and the financial framework "The provinces want to get to work, but the central government must first create the framework. In the meantime, it's also not clear what will happen to the provinces' plans, which must be submitted before July 1. Should it be the old colleges or the new ones?," he told NOS.
For Rutte, however, it is clear that all provinces have the necessary framework. But for Sterk, the reality looks different. Because even if the provinces know how much nitrogen they need to reduce, she said, it is wrong to claim that it is already possible to start implementing the nitrogen policy.
Ultimately, there is also discussion about when the nitrogen policy targets should be met. Either by 2030 or perhaps later? "It was already said last year that we have to reach 2030. If all the tools had been on the table then, we would be much further along by now," Sterk told NOS. For the CDA deputy, it's clear that "time is running out to get it right."