The cabinet presents the long-awaited plans for nitrogen

ANP extension


  • Sarah Burmann

    interior curator

  • Sarah Burmann

    interior curator

After much struggle, detours and delays, the cabinet will present its plans for tackling the nitrogen problem this afternoon. Farmers, builders, environmentalists and provinces look forward to it. The plans influence what is possible for them in the Netherlands.

They still have many questions, but it remains to be seen whether the cabinet can answer them all today. What do we already know? And what can we expect?

Future of agriculture

It is important to all that the Cabinet presents clear plans for the future of agriculture. Previous agriculture minister Staghouwer was unable to do this before. The House of Representatives found its plans too unclear. Ultimately, Staghouwer didn’t think he was the right person to continue.

Then it’s up to his successor Piet Adema. He deliberately keeps the plans vague, because he wants to leave room for negotiations with farmers and supply chain parties, such as supermarkets, feed producers and banks. Ultimately, these talks should lead to an agricultural deal. The focus is on the earnings model for the farmer and how farmers will need to work in the future.

building lock netherlands

It was already difficult to issue permits to construction projects that emit nitrogen, but the highest administrative court earlier this month end the building exemption licensing has stopped. The cabinet is drawing up plans to restart the licensing process. This is only possible if less nitrogen is emitted near nature reserves.

The closet It is going to make an offer to the most polluting farms to stop their activity. There is a stop bonus in return. Farmers are reimbursed 120% of the market value. On the other hand, farmers who do not want to cooperate will have to contend with stricter environmental requirements, making it unlikely that they will be able to continue their business.


One of the main complaints from farmers in recent years has been that they appear to be solely responsible for the nitrogen problem in the Netherlands. The government is therefore announcing today measures that will affect the sector. For example, the cabinet wants to introduce a levy on nitrogen. The more companies issue in the future, the more they will pay. The Cabinet hopes this will make businesses cleaner.

What this means for major emitters such as Tata Steel and Schiphol is not yet clear. But it is certain that the business community will have to deal with this.

Nitrogen targets

This afternoon it will not only be clear how the government intends to deal with the nitrogen problem. A plan to improve soil and water quality will also be published. On Wednesday, De Telegraaf leaked that the the groundwater level should be higher in peat areas to prevent subsidence of houses and CO2 emissions from peat. This has disadvantages for farmers, because very wet pastures are a problem for tractors and livestock.

The Cabinet discusses the plans in the Council of Ministers. This afternoon, all ministers involved in soil, water and nature issues will announce the plans: Minister Van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen), Minister Adema (Agriculture), Minister De Jonge (Housing), Minister Jetten (Climate and Energy) and Minister Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management).

The nitrogen dossier is complicated. In this special NOSop3 you decide for yourself how detailed you want to read. Go for the basics, a little more, a little more, or the details:

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