Dutch farmers may be forced to sell emission rights and land, to protect nitrogen sensitive nature areas. Photo: © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

Netherlands plan to cut livestock numbers by 30%

Dutch politicians are considering reducing livestock numbers by almost a third over the next decade. The background is a court decision from 2019 (see AN04/19) which stated that nitrogen emissions were too high in the vicinity of Natura 2000 areas.

Urgent measures to solve the problem included lowering speed limits on roads. An immediate way to cut NOx emissions.

Government agencies have now developed two alternative scenarios on how to achieve emission reductions in the longer term. Both of them include cutting livestock numbers by 30 per cent over a ten-year period. The state will achieve this by buying land and emission rights from farmers. Expropriation may be necessary. The proposals also include support for farmers to convert to more extensive farming as well as building low-emission stables.

The percentage of sensitive nature, where nitrogen depositions are below the so-called critical loads for nitrogen, would increase by about 60 per cent under both policy variants.
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Press release 6 September 2021, https://www.pbl.nl/nieuws/2021/pbl-publiceert-quickscan-van-twee-beleids...

The Guardian, 9 September 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/09/netherlands-proposes...


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