Internet consultation: controversial nitrogen law must be rewritten

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The controversial nitrogen law of Minister Christianne van der Wal must be rewritten. This is the opinion of the vast majority of the 140 participants in the public internet consultation that was recently held. Bouwend Nederland and the province of Overijssel, among others, do not see the new deadline for achieving the nitrogen targets.

The law shifts this from 2035 to 2030, thereby fulfilling a government promise from the coalition agreement. However, that same agreement is now under discussion: the CDA wants to renegotiate the nitrogen section.

The bill also introduces a permit requirement for ‘internal net metering’. Companies are then allowed to expand, as long as their total nitrogen emissions decrease or remain the same.

Citizens and organizations were allowed to give their opinion on the law in a public internet consultation. About 140 did. Almost all responses were mostly negative. The 2030 deadline in particular had to suffer. Farmers and their representatives, including the LTO, Agractie and the Dutch Dairy Farmers Union, are staunchly opposed.

Room for customization

They are supported in this by Bouwend Nederland, the province of Overijssel and the Waste Management Association. Bouwend Nederland fears a permit stop if the deadline is not met. The Dutch Waste Management Association writes that bringing the nitrogen targets forward will cause the deadline to coincide with that for the climate targets. ‘This puts increased pressure on the companies concerned, but of course also on the competent authorities and probably also the judiciary, who are already facing major capacity challenges’, writes the Dutch Waste Management Association.

The Waste Management Association therefore requests the government to create legal scope for tailor-made agreements with companies or for locations that cannot make it to 2030.

Exception for sustainability

Environmental organizations and other so-called chain partners are positive about 2030, but critical of other parts of the law. The licensing obligation for internal netting is especially controversial with them. For example, Energie-Nederland says that there must be room for the construction of sustainable energy projects and the limited fossil emissions that are required for this.

The Dutch Renewable Energy Association also believes that the government should make exceptions in the law for projects that advance the energy transition. They then do not have to apply for a permit, or are given priority.

VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are also critical. For many of their members, internal netting is the only way to realize business space. This also concerns initiatives that actually lead to nitrogen profit, they write in a response to the law. Bouwend Nederland expects that sustainability will be delayed as a result. In the current system, it can already take two years before a permit is granted for nitrogen emissions, the interest group notes.

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