Enticing farmers to sell their farms. This appears to be the strategy for reducing nitrogen deposition in nature. Tomorrow comes the long-awaited nitrogen letter from the Cabinet describing the plans. But in the background, the battle over space for nitrogen that might arise has been going on for a long time. Many different parties need that space. And so everyone wants priority.
Example: Rijkswaterstaat wants to widen the A27 near Amelisweerd (Utrecht). It cannot be done just like that: the extra nitrogen released from the expansion of the A27 must be compensated for in advance. So Rijkswaterstaat went looking for nitrogen space and found it by buying six farms in Gelderland.
to anger Gelderland County. “Why is it possible for asphalt and not for PAS detectors?” Gelderland’s deputy Peter Drenth asked angrily. “I find it very difficult, inexplicable.”
Because Gelderland would have preferred to spend the space freed up by buying the six companies in their county differently. Since 2019, a solution must be found for PAS reporters and farmers who are suddenly illegal due to a court ruling. This group of farmers now faces high fine payments because a court ruled that they needed a nitrogen permit, when the government previously said this was not necessary.
So this group would like to be placed at the top of the list. Especially now that the provinces have no other options than to enforce this. That is why concerned farmers demonstrated in Zwolle last week, hoping for a solution. Already this week, Minister Van der Waal indicated that time is running out for this group, and that a strong solution must be found, rather than a “declaration here and a statement there”.
Just like the PAS notifiers, construction projects are also looking sharply at the nitrogen space, as the court struck down the construction exemption at the beginning of this month. As a result, it is necessary to think in advance how much nitrogen is released during each construction project and what the consequences will be.
Nature on 1?
This is likely to cause a delay. Especially since such calculations take months and there is a shortage of experts who can prepare such reports. So Bouwend Nederland also raises its hand when it comes to prioritizing the nitrogen space, because “with the abolition of the construction exception, the Netherlands will in fact be closed”.
So the battle for the nitrogen space is in full swing. And there is no denying nature is where it all began. With the government’s nitrogen targets set for 2030, nature organizations fear it will be overtaken by blistering claims over the nitrogen space.
So the cabinet is viewed with hope. Tomorrow ministers will lay out their nitrogen plans and the list of priorities will help many parties.
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