None of the 24 industrial “peak polluters” identified by public health institute RIVM have agreed limits on nitrogen emissions, a year after the cabinet promised to tackle them, an investigation by broadcaster NOS has shown.
In November last year the cabinet said it would enter into talks with industry as well as farmers to come to agreements to cut emissions. The ministry originally estimated some 50 to 60 industrial polluters would figure on the list but that was later scaled down to 24, including Tata Steel, BP, chemicals companies and two Vattenfall energy plants.
None of the 24 have so far entered into hard and fast agreements to limit emissions despite assurances from nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal.
NOS asked the 24 businesses about their contacts with the ministry and found that half had not spoken to ministry officials at all while the other half had only had an introductory meeting.
Others said they “see possibilities to cut emissions” but are waiting for an invitation to the ministry of economic affairs to discuss their ideas.
A ministry spokesman said initial talks were held with the seven biggest companies on the list, including Tata Steel, Chemelot and insulation manufacturer Rockwool. This has not yet led to concrete results, the spokesman said. Further meetings have been planned, he said.
Only one industrial polluter has pledged to limit emissions but that had nothing to do with the ministry. Cocoa producer OFI in Koog aan de Zaan made its agreement with environmental movement MOB and the local environmental department.
The process is complicated because the remaining 17 polluters fall under different ministers, who are each conducting their own negotiations, which do not always centre on nitrogen reduction specifically.
A spokesman for energy minister Rob Jetten said ongoing efforts to make power plants greener would automatically include measures to lower nitrogen while the infrastructure ministry is in talks with waste processors, four of which are on the list, to reduce the amount of waste being burned.
The promise by the cabinet not to single out farmers, who make up the vast majority on the list, but to tackle industry as well came about after pressure from MPs.
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