Thursday 07 July 2022

Farm minister cancels talks with concerned farmer after threats

A farmers’ protest in The Hague in October 2019. Photo: Molly Quell

Farm minister Henk Staghouwer has cancelled a visit to a farm in Renswoude near Utrecht after threats were made against the farmer who was to host him.

The farmer, like Staghouwer a member of the Christian party ChristenUnie, was to have met the minister to talk about the government’s plans to combat nitrogen pollution, which have far reaching implications for the sector,

However, the farmer has been sent so many threatening texts about the visit that he is said to fear for his own and the minister’s safety.

Party leader Gert-Jan Segers and another MP will now visit the farm instead. They do not have to toe the government line.

Last Friday a group of angry farmers turned up at the home of nature minister Christianne van der Wal and refused to leave until she told them her children were ‘shaking’ inside.

The government is bound by a Council of State judgment in 2019 to reduce nitrogen pollution in order to comply with European rules to protect vulnerable habitats known as Natura 2000 areas.

The plan gives the 12 provinces a year to come up with measures to meet specific local targets by 2030, varying from 12% to 70% in the most vulnerable regions. Ministers have already said that farm closures are inevitable.

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