Saturday 16 January 2021
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EU believes that the Netherlands should tackle air and soil pollution

The European Commission believes that Dutch agriculture should seriously reduce the emission of environmentally polluting substances such as nitrogen and ammonia. Otherwise, the Netherlands runs the risk of not complying with international environmental and climate treaties, such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the Water Framework Directive.

This is evident from the recommendations recently made by the European Commission to the Netherlands for drawing up a National Strategic Plan. In such an NSP, the Netherlands must indicate to Brussels later this year how The Hague intends to put the new EU environmental objectives (“Green Deal”) of the common agricultural policy (CAP) into practice.

In the coming months, the European Commission will be presenting a deluge of concrete Green Deal proposals, especially in June. The committee will also consider what is feasible per country. Countries that have to catch up can count on extra EU subsidy. Farmers are not (yet?) Obliged to change their business operations, but they must be tempted to do so with subsidies and premiums, or so is the intention.

The focus is mainly on the From-Farmer-to-Plate strategy and the conservation of Biodiversity, with objectives for more organic agriculture and agricultural landscapes and to halve the use of harmful pesticides within ten years.

Brussels, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carola Schouten points out the increased use of fertilizers and manure and the emission of greenhouse gases (methane and nitrous oxide). In the Netherlands, this emission per hectare of agricultural land is four times higher than the EU average, especially on sandy soils.

In addition, the Netherlands does not adhere enough to the rules against water pollution. The intensive use of the countryside by agriculture has led to a lowering of the groundwater table, especially in peat areas. As a result, the sponge function of the countryside has been 'significantly reduced'.

“Due to climate change, the Netherlands is expected to be warmer and wetter, with more frequent summer droughts and rising sea levels. Many of these challenges are already being felt. Severe droughts have caused significant economic damage over the past 3 years. ”

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