Nitrogen halving in 2030 no longer sacred: ‘Understandable, but make realistic policy now’

LTO North director Dirk Bruins calls the news that the cabinet plans to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030 a good thing. “Actually, you saw it coming and understandably so. But it is especially important that there is clarity about what we are doing.”

Outgoing Minister Christianne van der Wal for Nitrogen and Nature will not send her bill to the House of Representatives, which mentions halving nitrogen emissions by 2030. With that, that year is off the track, it was announced yesterday. The current law refers to 2035 as a halving of emissions, but the current law also states that there must be a reduction of forty percent in 2025, while this measurement point in Van der Wal’s law would be 2028.

Bruins: “Goals are now being pursued that are not realistic. You will have to look at that first. We are absolutely not saying that nothing should be done on nitrogen or that we deny it.” The LTO director advocates that efforts should be made to reduce nitrogen emissions together. “Our call is also that farmers can get started with this. Farmers want that too.” For example, he is thinking of all kinds of innovations and not just of a stoppage scheme that is currently in place. “Continue to develop policy, but especially when it comes to farmers who want something in terms of innovation, so that they can adjust their business operations.”

Some farmers are already investing in measures to reduce nitrogen emissions. According to Bruins, it must be ensured that these measures also count. “They can’t count the reduction they achieve now. How can you evaluate in the meantime if you don’t have things in order? Then get to work with that. Don’t just buy out farmers.”

The starting point should be the current state of nature, says Bruins. Last week it appeared that nature was deteriorating faster than expected, according to research by Wageningen University. “With the critical deposition value and other models that are used, it gets stuck continuously,” says Bruins. “Look at the state of nature now. Set realistic goals and make a good policy based on that. That is constantly lacking. Let the coalition negotiations take a realistic look.”