Critical questions of coalition parties in the Chamber about nitrogen plans

The House of Representatives has many critical questions about the cabinets nitrogen plans. In preparation for a later debate, dozens of questions were asked about the proposals that should lead to a reduction of national nitrogen emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

The questions also show that three of the four coalition groups want the cabinet to explain or review its choices better.

MPs are critical, among other things, of the RIVMs calculations on the ammonia emissions of agriculture. According to the RIVM, it should be reduced by 39 kilotons, but the government parties VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie are questioning this.

Air for the agricultural sector

The target for this ammonia reduction is likely to be higher than is necessary to meet the legal target for nitrogen reduction. The VVD wants to know from its own minister Van der Wal how it views this. The largest government group wonders whether the legal goal should not be the starting point and believes that a more favourable reduction result for industry may provide some air for the agricultural sector.

The CDA also wants to know why 30 kilotons of ammonia reduction have not been chosen instead of 39. According to the Christian Democrats, there has been no clear answer to this so far and the Minister for Nitrogen must first explain this clearly.

Coalition partner ChristenUnie asks that question in similar terms. That party wants to know why the cabinet opted for an emission reduction of ammonia by 39 kilotons, while there were many good arguments for the 30kton approach.

Minister Van der Wal previously announced about the 39 kiloton ammonia reduction that it is higher than what is minimally needed. She has chosen this, among other things, because she does not want to focus on targeted purchase of certain companies in addition to nature reserves. That 39 kilotons could also be adjusted downwards, if, for example, the climate approach provides additional nitrogen reduction.

Unclarity and noise

MPs also have many critical comments about the cabinets communication about the plans, which lead to a lot of social unrest.

According to the CDA, in these kinds of complex topics, it is necessary to prevent plans and calculations from being explained in different ways, but the cabinet has not succeeded. The large amount of information that has been shared with the House creates more ambiguity and noise than clarity, says the party.

Nitrogen map from the table

The ChristenUnie wants the controversial nitrogen map, which shows in detail how much nitrogen reduction is needed for each area, to go off the table. There is a lot to do about that card and Prime Minister Rutte apologized last week in the consultation with farmers organizations led by mediator Remkes for communicating about the card in question. The ChristenUnie even asks the cabinet to withdraw this single-sector, overly detailed map with disputable principles.

Part of the opposition emphasizes that the cabinet should not succumb to the great pressure to change the plans, but that they must be continued.