CDA wants deadline off the table; farmers’ protests likely

Farmers cannot retrofit their barns before 2024, CDA wants deadline off the table
Photo Credit: Omroep Brabant

The 1 January 2024 date for barn modifications in Brabant is effectively off the table . So says political party CDA. On Friday, the party will present a motion to reinforce that position. “It is not about whether we want to reduce emissions, it is about our provincial government stating that it cannot be done within the current deadlines,” says CDA MP Tanja van de Ven.

On 13 December, the provincial government came out with a state letter, stating that farmers who want to modify their emission systems will be given six more months to apply for a permit to do so. However, nothing will change about the deadline for barn modifications. That date remains 1 January 2024. ZLTO (farmer and growers organisation) already called this “ludicrous and improper”.

“The Brabant politicians can’t ignore it.”

CDA Brabant is happy that the provincial government is giving farmers longer to apply for a permit, but the party wants more. It points to the explanation for that extension. “In 11 pages, the provincial government talks about a complex interplay of factors, including technical constraints. The provincial government itself writes that it is unlikely that farmers will be able to make the barn modifications in time. Brabant’s politicians therefore cannot avoid postponement”, Van de Ven believes.

Doubt about effectiveness of low emission stables

On 4 November, the province said it would stop issuing permits for the time being. By then, the court had already questioned several times how much these low-emission stables actually save. The province decided that the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality should first clarify how to deal with the emission calculations.

The ministry said it could come up with a decision on the barns “by mid-2023”. Too late for Brabant’s permit applications, and reason for the province to push back the deadline for the applications by six months.

CDA wants new timeline

But the three months between the lfinal possibility to apply for a permit and actually installing a new barn system is completely unachievable says the CDA. The province’s pledge to be “accommodating” on enforcement underlines that. The CDA is therefore tabling a motion on Friday to abandon the 1 January 2024 deadline for barn modifications. “A new timeline must be set, in consultation with farmers,” she said.

According to Van de Ven, haste is needed. “We cannot let agricultural entrepreneurs dangle much longer. It is time for clarity and perspective. Farmers are willing to balance agricultural interests with the need to protect nature and the environment, but we must recognise that there are prctical obstacles between dream and reality”.

“We desperately need every gram of nitrogen reduction.”

The VVD wants to postpone the controversial deadline by six months at most, in step with the permit application. The party does not see the need for any more delay. “We simply don’t have time for that. We already desperately need every gram of nitrogen reduction to prevent Brabant from becoming paralysed”,* says party chairwoman Wilma Dirken in the Brabants Dagblad.

On Friday, the stables policy will be discussed at the provincial government building during a debate. Hundreds of farmers are expected at the provincial hall in Den Bosch, following an appeal by farmers’ organisation ZLTO. That wants the deadline for mandatory barn modifications to be moved up from 2024 to 2028. The famers claim that is in line with national policy.

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translated by Simge Taşdemir

* Paralysed, because new roads and houses cannot be built unless the current nitrogen levels go down. (ed. Eindhoven News, Greta)

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