“Illegal” farmers are facing fines over nitrogen emissions

Animal farming is a major source of ammonia . Photo: Depositphotos.com

At least 259 farms operating without a licence will face fines it they don’t buy a nitrogen emissions quota or cut down on livestock, the agriculture ministry has confirmed to the NRC.

Some 2,500 farmers in the Netherlands are partly unlicensed but had been allowed by the government to continue and even expand it they could keep their nitrogen emissions below a certain level near vulnerable natural areas.

Following a court ruling in 2019, that exemption no longer holds, and now farmers are being forced to act.

Some 600 farms have since been reassessed and 40% of them found to be producing too much nitrogen. They now face fines unless they scale down or buy – scarce – rights to pollute via the quota scheme.

All unlicensed businesses will have to legalised by the end of 2025. “We are doing everything we can to make this happen,” an agriculture spokesman said.

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