‘BBB nitrogen plans won’t open Netherlands ‘fast’


What does the BBB want? This is the question that worries The Hague after the party’s great victory. The BBB expects a lot from innovations in the agricultural sector, an accelerated halving of nitrogen emissions by 2030 is unnecessary, no to forced buyouts of farmers, and the party wants to halve the number of Natura 2000 sites in the long run.

The party already has enough ambitions and plans to make a concrete proposal: The party, together with JA21, prepared the initiative note “Quick exit from the nitrogen crisis” at the end of last year. Will the Netherlands be able to get rid of the ban in a short time with these plans? What about legal options?

Nieuwsuur presents the three concrete legislative amendments made by both parties to three experts: professor of nitrogen Jan Willem Erisman, professor emeritus of environmental systems analysis Leen Hordijk, and attorney for administrative and environmental law Christine Visser.

Jan Willem Erisman: “Critical storage value can be deduced from the law. This is possible, but there must be an alternative that allows you to implement the policy and fulfill European obligations. There are many sectors that contribute to the accumulation of nitrogen: agriculture, industry and abroad. You want to destroy them with politics, but then you have to have a certain carrying capacity of nature.”

Christine Visser: “Removing this value from the law does not expand the possibilities. By itself it doesn’t make protected areas any better, and it’s necessary to solve the nitrogen problem.”

Leen Hordijk: “The calculation method is actually scientifically irresponsible. For example, we don’t know exactly how much emissions are coming from farms or Tata Steel. The model does not provide the accuracy required for one hectare of land.”

Leen Hordijk: “I think this is a good step in terms of accuracy of calculations. At the same time, if government policies make the total fall in other ways – with standards and caps.

Jan Willem Erisman: “You can compare it to a bucket of water filled to the brim with water, in this case nitrogen. Every little drop you add overflows that bucket, giving you room to slowly but surely add a few drops. Then the question is: how far can you empty the bucket? This should be important if you want to allow “drops” again.

Christine Visser: “I am in favor of introducing a threshold. But this is currently not legally defensible. We tried this with the Nitrogen Approach Program (PAS). The court said: You cannot set a threshold until this moment, unless there is a guarantee that nature will be in good condition and you really think about the measures for it.

Ammonia is mainly released from agriculture and can occur naturally as nitrogen. Nitrogen oxides come mainly from industry. The BBB wants a clearer distinction between the two.

Jan Willem Erisman: “You shouldn’t blame agriculture for foreign or industrial policy. You can separate politics better this way. So I think this is a good way: everyone is responsible for their own reduction. Bring your own reduction before making another small contribution to nitrogen accumulation.”

Christine Visser: “On the memorandum itself, I really don’t see what a melting effect that would have. It is true that these two substances also have a different effect in terms of distribution. But making a distinction for this in the law adds nothing.”

Leen Hordijk: “Complex: On the one hand, it’s about ammonia and nitrogen. And these are two different sectors. I can imagine that it would be difficult to legislate on this issue. If the Assembly decides to follow the BBB’s recommendations, then it still has work to do.”

quality of nature

According to experts, the promises made by the BBB and JA21 to get out of the nitrogen crisis “quickly” do not seem to work with these plans. “They are not solving the problem themselves. Setting a threshold may mean that we issue permits in the short term, and if a judge says they are against European rules, they are all lost. Then we will be further away from home.” ”, says Fischer.

“You can’t target more nitrogen unless you have a successful nitrogen policy that actually shows a reduction,” says Erisman. “It is being investigated whether it is possible to deduct the critical build-up level (the amount of nitrogen in nature before damage occurs) from the law. And then can we assure the European Union that we will preserve the quality of this nature reserve?”

Source: NOS


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