The government is very unlikely to meet its targets for reducing ammonia levels in the agriculture sector, according to latest projections by the environmental planning agency PBL.
Ministers have pledged to reduce total ammonia emissions to 63 kilotons by 2030 as part of its strategy to comply with European limits on nitrogen compound emissions.
According to the PBL’s estimates, agricultural emissions will amount to between 88 and 103 kilotons in seven years’ time, at least 40% higher than the target level.
Other targets to reduce nitrogen emissions from transport and industry are currently within the target range on the PBL’s projections, which are updated twice a year.
The PBL warned last October that the government had ‘unrealistic’ expectations of its bailout scheme for livestock farmers.
The cabinet hopes the €7.4 billion package will reduce the cattle herd by enough to meet its nitrogen targets, but the PBL said studies of previous voluntary buyout schemes did not justify its optimism.
The Netherlands is aiming to bring down nitrogen deposits near Natura-2000 nature reserves, designated under a European conservation plan, below the so-called critical deposition value at 74% of sites by 2030.
The PBL said its analysis measured emissions rather than deposition values. It also only assessed measures that have been finalised by May 1 2022. Provincial governments have been set a deadline of July 1 this year to come up with detailed plans for emissions reduction that will be incorporated into the cabinet’s national strategy.
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