The nitrogen file continues to cause unrest. Agricultural magazine Poetry “As a result 7,000 out of 8,000 Flemish livestock farms cannot be relicensed,” he now points to a clause in the nitrogen decree introduced by the N-VA and Open Vld. Ooops.
At the end of July, the N-VA and Open Vld submitted the Nitrogen Decree to the Flemish Parliament at an accelerated pace. Emergency action that both parties believe is necessary to save Ineos’ permit. The British chemicals company wants to build a new ethane cracker at the port of Antwerp. According to N-VA and Open Vld, the nitrogen decree that was voted on is crucial to ensuring that the project can be restarted legally. Cd&v is not convinced by this and is pushing for a different solution for Ineos.
Poetry We now draw attention to an article in the livestock farms relicensing agreement. According to the magazine, this goes much further than what was agreed upon in the March political agreement. The relevant Article 43 stipulates that from now on “a permit cannot be obtained” for livestock farms with an impact rate of more than 0.028 percent. The impact score determines the extent to which a nearby nature reserve is affected by nitrogen emissions from an agricultural company.
Section 43 appears to conflict with the March agreement which states that existing livestock farms can be relicensed beyond the 0.028 percent impact score. Or temporarily until 2030, if they do not make efforts to reduce their nitrogen emissions. Or indefinitely if they achieve their goals. For pigs, for example, this is less than 60% of emissions.
“In absolute terms, this means that out of the 8,000 professional livestock farms in Flanders, 7,000 will have to stop in a relatively short period of time,” he wrote. Poetry. This is an estimate confirmed by the office of Flemish Agriculture Minister Jo Bruns (CD&V). He has been saying for some time that the Nitrogen Decree as presented by N-VA and Open Vld is not a proper implementation of the agreements. He added: “This is one of the points we are very concerned about.”
The government of Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA) is being appeased. It is said that the agreements concluded in March will indeed be respected. “And we already told you too PoetryIf clarifications are needed, amendments can be made.” In short: panic is unnecessary. Demir refers to the advice of the State Council that will be issued at the beginning of next October. The original Nitrogen Decree will likely be amended to take into account the statutory body’s comments.
From the Flemish Parliament, Gwendoline Rötten (Open Vld) stated that Article 43 should be rewritten. “It is true that the Nitrogen Decree contains a number of annoying errors, including this article. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time and it’s not really serious either. Just imagine having to read all this again as a farmer. As Open Vld, we have been saying for some time that we must leave room for amendments and that we will not vote on anything.
The nitrogen file has caused significant tensions within the Flemish government for some time. In particular, the two specialist ministers, Demir and Bronze, clashed several times. While it regularly condemns the lobbying power of the Boerenbond within the CD&V, it believes that the N-VA has too little regard for the future of Flemish agriculture. There are fears that the nitrogen issue could lead to the collapse of the troubled centre-right coalition later this year.
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