Farming ultimatum as the Netherlands grapples with cutting nitrogen emissions

The Netherlands are offering to buy out farms and industrial sites in a bid to drastically reduce nitrogen emissions amid farmer protests

MONUMENTAL measure in the Netherlands as the country races to cut ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions in line with EU rules. The Dutch government is offering to buy out between 2000 and 3000 polluting companies, mainly farms and industrial sites, or they risk forced closure next year.

The ‘peak polluters’ are being targeted by the government since their nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions rates are illegal by EU standards. The 2000-3000 farmers and industrialists will receive financial compensation worth more than 100 per cent of their properties for ceding them to the government.

Christianne van der Wal, Minister for Nitrogen, announced the measure on November 30, saying that the country would force businesses to close for the first time from next year if they do not comply with the scheme or stop their polluting actions.

The options for farms and factories include drastically cutting emissions, transitioning to use their sites for new purposes, relocating, or “voluntarily stopping”.

The move, which has caused outrage in the farming community, has been welcomed by environmentalists and the EU following a 2019 court ruling against the country’s nitrogen emissions, forcing action.

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