Netherlands gets EU go-ahead to buy out major nitrogen emitters in agriculture: report
The European Commission approved the Dutch government’s plans to tackle major nitrogen emitters in livestock farming, sources told NOS. The EU green light allows the government to quickly buy out major emitters and considerably reduce nitrogen emissions in the short term - a critical point in the Dutch nitrogen policy.
The Cabinet wants to offer around 3,000 major emitters near protected nature reserves - Natura 2000 areas - a voluntary buyout. It concerns dairy farms, pig farms, and poultry farms. According to the plan, they can get up to 120 percent of their company’s value on the condition that they really stop farming and the Netherlands' total livestock herd becomes smaller.
These 3,000 farmers are responsible for a large part of the nitrogen precipitation in protected nature reserves. If they stop their activities, nature can recover, and the Netherlands will get much closer to achieving its nitrogen targets.
The government wants to use the nitrogen space created with this buyout to help farmers who don’t have nitrogen permits through no fault of their own. The rest will go to make construction projects possible.
The government is also planning a similar scheme for dairy, pig, and poultry farmers who want to stop but aren’t peak emitters. They can get up to 100 percent of their company’s value. The government is working on a website to calculate whether a farm’s emissions exceed the subsidy eligibility threshold.
The Cabinet wants to publish the buy-out schemes, with the precise conditions, at the end of this month, according to NOS. Minister Christianne van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen) previously called the schemes “terribly attractive.” But the European Commission's approval was crucial because, without it, the buyout scheme could be considered illegal state aid.