Cautiously positive reactions after accelerated nitrogen funding approach

The cabinets decision to allocate hundreds of millions of euros accelerated for the nitrogen problem has been cautiously positive. With the money, farmers can be bought out so that other farmers and companies can continue in a legal way.

โ€œWe are positive that we see a movement that we can implement quickly,โ€ says Edward Stigter on behalf of the Interprovincial Consultation (IPO). Earlier this month, administrators of seven provinces said they feared delays because the promised money to buy out farmers and to become more sustainable was still missing. โ€œAlthough provinces have made many more proposals than are now being honored, we can get to work,โ€ reports Stigter now.

Nitrogen map is not a blueprint

In a letter that nitrogen minister Van der Wal sent to the House of Representatives today, she also addressed the map presented by the cabinet, which led to a lot of unrest. The map shows for each area how much nitrogen reduction needs to be achieved. Van der Wal said immediately that the map should be considered a starting point.

โ€œProvinces have the space to give their own colouring to this,โ€ said the minister. Now she adds that the map is โ€œexplicitly not a blueprint that provinces should apply one to oneโ€. The IPO also responds positively to this.

LTO doesnt want to sit down with Remkes yet

In a first concise response, agricultural organization LTO calls it positive that the farms that are under fire because of their nitrogen emissions (the so-called PAS detectors) are being met. In 2019, the Council of State drew a line through the governments Nitrogen Approach Programme (the PAS ruling), which labelled the operations of thousands of farmers as illegal in one fell swoop.

This is now being solved at an accelerated pace, says LTO, because provinces are given the space to take โ€œquick stepsโ€. โ€œThere are still questions about the precise interpretation, but that is also largely in consultation with provinces.โ€

The fact that the cabinet is accelerating money for tackling the nitrogen problems does not mean that LTO now wants to sit down directly with mediator Remkes. So far, the agricultural organization has refused to do so. โ€œIt must be possible to talk about time frame, purpose and means. Once again, we reiterate our call to be able to talk about this openly with a mediator supported by the sector.โ€

Bart Kemp, the foreman of farmer action group Agractie, also says he is pleased that farmers who still work without the required nitrogen permits can be legalized at an accelerated pace. But most of all, he says he is disappointed. โ€œWe do not ask for money that will be used. We are asking for nitrogen to be reduced on a foundation that is feasible.โ€ Kemp says his action group does not sit down with mediators โ€œas long as nitrogen is the only criterionโ€.