Since it has become clear that the Dutch nitrogen policy is seriously outdated, the Dutch government has started looking for alternatives. The government wants to improve the policy as soon as possible in order to limit the damage to the environment and public health. Both the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety (LNV) and LTO Nederland have put forward ideas to improve this policy. In addition, discussions were held with interested parties in society at the beginning of 2019. For example, the government has entered into discussions with farmers and entrepreneurs, but also with environmental and nature organisations. With this the government is trying to increase support for the new policy. After all, the measures that need to be taken will not always be well received.
One measure that wasn't received well by the Dutch is the reduction of the speed limit on highways. On roads where first 120 or 130 km/h was allowed, it is now reduced to 100 km/h. This regulation only applies during the day, with the old speed limit applying between 07:00 pm and 6:00 am.
But the government is also taking steps in other ways, especially in the agricultural sector. For example, money has been freed up for pig farms that want to quit. Entrepreneurs who want to stop can make use of a special subsidy scheme. In addition, extra money has been made available to buy up livestock farms when the owner wants to quit. This allows livestock farms close to natural reserves to be bought up, to ensure that the farmer does not remain in debt.
The government does not just help entrepreneurs to cease their business. It also looks at the fodder used. By reducing the protein content of animal fodder, less ammonia enters the urine and manure of cattle. This measure is more difficult to apply because the new fodder must be safe both for the animals and for the consumer. But with new fodder, livestock farms should be able to reduce nitrogen emissions. In addition to the fodder, the barns in which the cattle are housed are also taken into consideration. Adaptations to make barns more sustainable are often expensive and that is why the government created a subsidy for this. With the help of this subsidy, farmers can get to work more quickly on creating more sustainable barns.
Finally, farmers will also be able to get help from a coach. There are many opportunities to reduce nitrogen emissions, which could lead to farmers losing the overview. The government and provinces are hiring coaches who can help the farmers getting insight into their personal situation, in order to increase the sustainability of their barns.
But all these measures do not take away from the fact that the policy itself must also change. When it became apparent in mid-2019 that PAS was to be abolished, this created a great deal of uncertainty. Not only for the agricultural sector, but also the construction sector saw many projects halted, in order to be reassessed. Minister Schouten therefore came up with a new manure policy later in 2019. This new policy for the agricultural sector focuses on a circular agriculture, since the Dutch soil is being depleted of nutrients and our biodiversity is declining. The aim is to have a fully circular agriculture by 2030. This is, of course, easier said than done, especially because circular agricultur is a comprehensive concept. CCS wholeheartedly supports the concept of circular agriculture, but it is important that this concept is formed in a way that is desirable for everyone. We see three components in circular agriculture:
1. It functions without the use of artificial fertiliser;
2. Importing protein-rich concentrates, such as soya, must stop;
3. The production of renewable energies must be integrated.
We believe that it is possible to merge the three and thus close the circle. After all, a nitrogen stripper could make the new policy feasible. That is why we have developed the Bio-NP!