'Agriculture minister Henk Staghouwer has more or less drawn a line in the sand with his nitrogen plans, with promises he made earlier. I am saying this cautiously, because we still have a lot of questions. If this becomes the scenario, then this is not possible. We have made agreements with the farmers,' says Anita Pijpelink, member of the Provincial Executive of Zeeland Province.
© Twan Wiermans
The provinces of Zeeland, Limburg and North Brabant have serious reservations about the nitrogen plans of the government. From "this is just not possible" to "we want to continue to offer young entrepreneurs a future" and "the targets set must be achievable.
Sijssel's deputy Pijpelink reacted the fiercest of the three southern provincial administrators to the plans of Van der Wal and Staghouwer in the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant (PZC) this week. 'When we saw that little map, we suddenly realized that it was also about non-nitrogen-sensitive nature, completely unexpectedly.'
Do not obstruct business
Pijpelink has always seen it as her mission not to pit nature and agriculture against each other, but to work together. We have always agreed with the farmers that the new nature for the Nature Network will not interfere with your business operations. And now suddenly they have to reduce nitrogen levels by 12% or more. At the Braakman, for example, the reduction is 47 to even 75 percent. That is not in line with the agreements.
In his response to the plans, the Brabant deputy chairman of nitrogen policy, Erik Ronnes, adheres to the area-based approach: 'For Brabant, a thorough area-based process with all stakeholders remains the starting point for achieving a sustainable situation in the areas. We are aware that the Minister's plans will have a major impact in some areas.
The province is now looking at how the guiding goals fit with the existing line, Ronnes indicates. 'These have to be achievable, realistically applicable and sustainable.' The representative makes it clear that the nitrogen plan of Van der Wal is not complete. We miss the maximum commitment to reducing nitrogen emissions and deposition by generic national measures. We want to keep room for area processes to take the necessary steps together.'
Province of Limburg says in a statement that it 'has an eye for the impact that the guiding targets have on the agricultural sector, which is highly represented in our province. And we set ourselves the goal of continuing to offer these entrepreneurs perspective. We believe in transition rather than buy-out and we want to offer young agricultural entrepreneurs a future.'