Nitrogen Minister Van der Waals turns the consequences into a circus – flying without a nature permit, imposes far-fetched requirements on farmers

Nitrogen Minister Van der Waals turns the consequences into a circus – flying without a nature permit, imposes far-fetched requirements on farmers

“Nature is deep in red” He said Outgoing Agriculture Minister Christiane van der Waals reacts to the latest RIVM news. “Additional measures are needed for a healthy and robust nature. This report shows how much is still needed, and the conclusions are clear.” The new government can be proud that it will have to take additional measures. Revm He sees that the goals are no longer realisticBut he notes that natural rainfall is decreasing.

Little scientific research has such a direct impact on society

Paper exercise

Additional measures required are the result of a paper exercise. In the laboratory, researchers test the nitrogen sensitivity of plants they choose as representative of natural areas. They set limits on over-fertilization. RIVM staff then enter the resulting numbers into the form stipulated by the government in law. If the figures contain errors or deviations (after all, due to the laboratory setting, they cannot represent nature itself) about which scientific opinions may differ, they will still be included in the model and thus immediately become law. Little research has such a direct impact on society.

An illogical choice
In 2020, Johan Remkees advised the Cabinet to choose nitrogen emissions as a target. By 2030, it should be reduced by 50%. According to models, this would result in 74% of the Dutch landscape being free of excess nitrogen. Achieving this goal is the responsibility of the government. Reducing emissions is the responsibility of companies. Good managerial division of tasks because emissions are the only factor that companies can achieve within their control. But the Cabinet decided differently. The target year was shifted to 2035 and was not based on emissions but on deposition in nature reserves. He made corporations directly responsible for this, a choice that makes no sense.

Based on Wageningen research in laboratory conditions Show last year Many nature reserves, especially forest areas, are more sensitive to nitrogen deposition than previously calculated models. RIVM applied the new numbers in nitrogen models run by the National Institute of Government and, based on a new experiment, determined that much more nitrogen ends up in nature than previously assumed.

According to old calculations, 81% of nature reserves will not have a nitrogen surplus in 2035 under current policy. But with the new numbers, the percentage remains stable at only 40%. As a result, the legally set target of 74% has become unrealistic unless drastic measures are taken.

If the legal aim were to reduce emissions, it would be possible to develop a sustainable policy. Now politicians have two options: either amend the law or impose measures that are not possible in any case

Baked pears

Now the cabinet and politicians are facing the same problem. If the legal goal were to reduce emissions, it would be possible to develop a sustainable policy that farmers and other business people could adhere to. And now suddenly there was panic, because the reduction had to be reduced still further, and perhaps more quickly, because the law required it. There are now two options: either amend the law or take action. The latter is not an option, of course.

RIVM estimates that agricultural emissions must fall by 60 to 80% to meet the targets. This is much higher than the previous target of 50%.

Outgoing Minister Van der Waals noted that the new government is responsible for determining the next steps in nitrogen policy and is leaving the new ministers behind. When new numbers from the lab setup and model came out last year He said She said: “The large fluctuation in numbers shows that the focus is on KDW [de neerslagfactor op de natuur, DV] It is a complicating factor for a consistent policy. These fluctuations also cause unwanted uncertainty for farmers and other entrepreneurs.

The end of the Van der Waals circus
With these words I admitted that the deposit-based policy is meaningless and unjustified for entrepreneurs. Her words now sound like crocodile tears from the minister who turned her nitrogen policy into chaos through mismanagement. Last weekend became known That Van der Waal Airport Eindhoven puts its hand above its head at the last minute of its ministerial career by simply pointing out that the airport does not require a nature permit. In April, it showed that it was too lenient with Chaebol’s flexible nitrogen rules Feeling unfair In the House of Representatives. It takes a tough approach towards farmers and gives airports plenty of leeway. The nitrogen NGO MOB would not agree to this. It will be up to the next minister who will probably be more interested in agriculture and less in aviation.
Everyone hopes that the new minister will make radical changes to nitrogen legislation and that companies will simply comply with emission reduction requirements. The circus that Van der Waal had turned into her mission could then be closed.

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