Provincial governments that have finalised plans to cut back on nitrogen-based pollution and improve the quality of the countryside will have to lower their ambitions because there is not enough money to pay for them, nature minister Christianne van der Wal told the Telegraaf on Monday.
The minister, who represents the VVD in the caretaker cabinet, told the paper she would be relaying her message to the 12 new provincial administrations in the coming month.
In total, the provinces are claiming €58 billion in government funding which, the minister said, is “unrealistic”.
The cabinet has allocated a total of €24.3 billion to tackling excessive nitrogen but “that amount is more likely to go down than increase, given the financial situation we are facing,” Van der Wal said. A further €35 billion has been allocated to tackling climate change.
In addition, the senate, or upper house of parliament, still has to approve the establishment of both the nitrogen and climate funding and whether or not they will is still open to question, the Telegraaf said.
The Netherlands will elect a new lower house of parliament on November 22 and the outgoing administration will present its holding budget on the third Tuesday in September. In the meantime, ministers will be prevented from moving forward with any new policy regarded as controversial.
Nevertheless, Van der Wal told the Telegraaf she at least hoped to be able to press ahead with the scheme to buy out farms that are major producers of nitrogen-based pollution.
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