In most parts of the Netherlands, drastic action is needed to meet EU regulations on nitrogen-based pollution, which means that some farms must be closed, the minister said Friday.

Natural Minister Christianne van der Val and Agriculture Minister Henkstaghower said that in total, levels need to be reduced by 70% in 131 key areas.

A new approach to this issue, created following the 2019 proceedings, includes monitoring nitrogen emissions by region. In some remote areas, nitrogen-based pollution needs to be reduced by 12% by 2030, while in others, near vulnerable habitats, much more drastic action is needed, the minister said. Says.

The 12 provinces of the Netherlands have been given more than a year to develop detailed plans to reach their goals, taking into account agricultural and industrial, construction and transportation emissions. Details will be released in October.

Both farming and livestock farming are responsible for about 41% of nitrogen-based pollution in habitats protected by EU law as Natura 2000 sites. Some farmers can reduce pollution and run businesses, but “not all farmers can continue,” the minister says.

What’s all the fuss about nitrogen in the Netherlands?

The purpose of this plan is to reduce total nitrogen emissions by 50% by 2030.

The new plan follows the decision of the Council of State in May 2019, stating that the government’s strategy to reduce excess nitrogen violates EU directives on the protection of vulnerable habitats.

The plan, known as Programma Aanpak Stikstof (PAS), is a reactive nitrogen such as ammonia from agriculture and nitrous oxide from combustion fuels by “balancing” with measures to combat pollution. Developed to reduce emissions.


Agricultural organizations say they plan to step up protests following the announcement on Friday, starting with a demonstration in The Hague on June 22nd.

Last year and 2020, protesting farmers caused turmoil on the highways and city centres by using their tractors to reach the demonstrations.

Ministers have allocated an additional € 24.3 billion to fund the transition.

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