Schouten finds support in opposition for criticized Nitrogen Act

Minister Schouten has found sufficient support for her Nitrogen Act, intended to protect nature better. Opposition parties SP, SGP and 50Plus will vote in favour of the criticized law and as a result there is a majority in the House of Representatives.

In order to get the support of the opposition parties, the Cabinet will do more to tackle nitrogen-sensitive nature. The law stipulates that by 2025 40 percent and by 2035 about 74 percent of nitrogen-sensitive nature will be completely healthy again.

Care Neighborhoods

There will also be compensation for certain farms which have been subjected to an additional burden from banning the flexible nitrogen rules. And there will be an additional 20 million for housing construction and especially for nursing centres, as agreed with the three parties.

Farmers Defence Force says in a reaction that they expect hard actions to follow. The Peasant Action Group concludes that nothing for agriculture has been regulated except for an increase. The targets would be unattainable.

The Dutch Dairy Farmers Trade Union is also unappealing about the deal. The union says to be concerned rather than reassured. The NMV argues for innovation and not for buyout.

Temporary measures

Minister Schouten has been working on nitrogen problems since May 2019. At that time, the Council of State banned the smooth granting of building and agricultural permits around nature reserves. Nitrogen emissions affect nature too much, and that is against European rules.

At

the end of 2019, the Minister Schouten managed to get a temporary emergency law through parliament, with the support of an occasional coalition of Group Otten, 50Plus and SGP. This emergency law contained all temporary measures which expire on 1 January 2021.

Construction projects

In October Schouten came up with its final Nitrogen Reduction and Nature Improvement Act, which states that nitrogen emissions should be 26 percent lower by 2030 than now. She wants to arrange so that not only does not get less nitrogen into nature, but also that construction projects can go through. Because due to the stricter nitrogen rules, many construction projects were no longer allowed to continue, while there is a large housing shortage. An additional 1 billion will be allocated to housing construction.

On Schoutens figure of 26 percent came a lot of criticism. A committee had said months earlier that it should be 50%. But the minister says that 50% is financially and socially difficult to achieve. Against the nitrogen measures there is a strong protest among farmers organisations, who feel very little about selling their farms, even if it is voluntary.

Questionmarks

Schouten could not count on support from the opposition parties GroenLinks and the PvdA, because they felt that too little is being done to restore the damaged nature. The help of the PVV and the Forum for Democracy was excluded because they questioned the extent of the nitrogen problem.

The House of Representatives will probably be debating the Nitrogen Act this week. In the new year the House will follow, but Schouten can be assured of sufficient support.