Tuesday 10 December 2019

Farmers stage new nitrogen protest outside provincial assembly in Haarlem

An earlier protest on the Malieveld in The Hague. Photo: Molly Quell

Farmers are taking to the roads again to keep up the pressure on provincial governments to scale back measures to curb nitrogen pollution.

A convoy of tractors from Friesland and Texel is travelling to Haarlem on Monday morning to picket the provincial assembly house, where deputies are staging a debate on the nitrogen rules. Organisers expect around 200 farmers to take part.

Frisian farmers successfully lobbied last month for the regulations in their own province to be withdrawn, including a rule that said new buildings would only be given planning permission if farmers could show their nitrogen emissions would not increase.

National and provincial governments have been drawing up new, more restrictive, environmental regulations since the Council of State ruled in May that the current planning system did not comply with European conservation laws. All EU nations are obliged to protect designated ‘Nature 2000’ areas by taking steps to limit nitrogen emissions.

The move has met strong resistance from the agriculture and construction sectors, both of which have staged protests on the Malieveld in The Hague in recent weeks. Farmers argue that provincial governments should not change their rules until the cabinet has published its plans to cut nitrogen emissions.

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