Construction of new nature in the Netherlands: barely halfway and much more expensive

The purchase and furnishing of new natural habitats TP3Tn costs much more time and money than previously anticipated. Just over half of the agreed 80,000 hectares of new nature to be developed in the Netherlands Nature Network (NNN) has been realised, despite the fact that the government has taken many steps.

This is the conclusion of a joint study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and WUR-Wageningen on nature policy over the past ten years.

In 2013, the national government and the provinces agreed on the so-called 'Nature Pact': a decentralization of nature policy from the national government to the provinces. The aim was to improve biodiversity. According to forecasts, the target will not be achieved by the end of 2027. This is partly because the realization of new nature takes place on a voluntary and willing basis.

For nature restoration, it was agreed that greater efforts are needed to restore the ecological system. But the recent accumulation of policies in the National Program for Rural Areas (NPLG) has made implementation of nature policy more difficult and even delayed, the researchers conclude.

In addition to good management and expansion of the area, nature restoration requires a greater commitment to ecological system restoration. This requires, among other things, a shared vision of the future that has yet to be developed in many geieden. 

Realizing nature objectives through area processes will require 'administrative commitment and political courage' from the provinces and central government because of the many conflicting interests, because other objectives must also be achieved at the same time (climate, agriculture, water).

To achieve the Natura 2000 targets, a far-reaching change in agricultural management is required, for example towards an extensive or nature-inclusive form of agriculture, according to one of the recommendations.

Farmers not only need clarity about what is being asked of them, but also financial support and adapted regulations from the national or provincial government. This applies in particular to agricultural companies in the vicinity of natural habitat TP3Tn, according to the researchers from PBL and WUR.