Wednesday 25 May 2022
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Water board wants stricter rules against water pollution by farmers

The Dutch water boards fear that nitrate pollution in surface water could become a second nitrogen issue. Recently, the European Commission warned the Netherlands to take extra measures to achieve the goals of the Nitrates Directive. 

This week, the House of Representatives will discuss the LNV budget and the adjustment made by Minister Schouten to the seventh Nitrates Directive action programme.

According to the Union of WEaterschaps, the current measures will not achieve the Water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive in agriculture. Therefore, additional measures are needed. The national government must do more with manure policy, and farmers must get to work on it, the water boards argue in response to the LNV budget.

The water boards believe that the nitrogen and water quality problems should both be solved. In order to achieve the Water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive in all agricultural areas on sand, clay and peat by 2027, not only voluntary but also mandatory measures are needed. 

The nitrogen problem concerns the emission of nitrogen into the air, according to the water boards, especially in stables of livestock farms. The water quality problem mainly arises from leaching of fertilizers from agricultural plots. 

Money is also needed to tackle water pollution. Money that is available for the nitrogen approach can also be used to improve water quality, they believe.

LTO Nederland noted earlier this week that Schouten has removed the sharpest edges of the Nitrate action program, but believes that the consequences for the agricultural sector are still significant.

BO Akkerbouw is satisfied with the option now included for tailor-made solutions, which farmers can choose for themselves. They also call it important that the hard deadline of October 1 for sowing catch crops has been cancelled.

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