Accompanying policy: What financial resources does the government provide?

zAs the name suggests, an “accompanying policy” contains government initiatives that go hand in hand with the actual nitrogen policy. The policy accompanying the performance appraisal system consists of a package of incentives and compensatory measures for farmers who implement emission reduction or source measures, and measures that can make the transition to low-nitrogen agricultural activities easier.

VLIF support

The Flemish government is providing the first form of support in the form of increased VLIF subsidies to pig and poultry farmers who are allowing their non-AEA (low ammonia emission) barns to emit less ammonia by investing in better technologies. Investments by livestock farmers to reduce ammonia emissions from their pens will also be encouraged by increasing VLIF support.

For such investments, support ratios for both AEA sheds and PAS-list ammonia reduction investments will be increased from 30-40% and for young farmers even from 40-65%.

peak loaders

In terms of source metrics, the government expects that former red firms, so-called peak lifters, should halt their farm emissions by 2025 at the latest. This means that they have to stop raising animals. Of course, this is not possible without financial compensation.

The draft Final Performance Appraisal Act remains ambiguous about the amount of compensation. Termination compensation is determined by the Land Commission, as can be read in the text under public investigation. In land commissions, the remaining license term and the usual valuation of the company are also taken into account when calculating the fees. It can also be read that higher compensation is provided for voluntary termination before 2025. If businesses cease in 2023, they will receive an additional 20% compensation. When they stop in 2024, they will receive an additional 10% compensation.

Finally, peak taxpayers are offered the option to purchase their buildings and real estate in Special Protection Areas (SPAs) by the government for a fee corresponding to the expropriation fee.

In order to obtain compensation as a peak bearing, a number of conditions must be met. For example, a peak loader must stop at least one year before the end of his permit period.

In addition, both the permit and NERs must be submitted.

voluntary cessation

Another measure to reduce nitrogen emissions at the source is the option of voluntary closure of companies with an impact score of more than 20%, or the so-called dark orange companies. In 2023, the Flemish government will offer these companies the option to register for a voluntary moratorium. Anyone who subscribes to the call in 2023 can continue activities for a maximum of 3 years. Here, too, a higher compensation is provided to those who stop earlier. Those who stop after a year will get an extra 20% and those who stop after 2 years will get another 10%. These companies qualify for the same package of actions as peak lifters.

expedited shutdown

In addition, there is also an option for all pig farmers to join the accelerated cessation scheme. Therefore a call to terminate work is organized at the farm or barn level for all pig farms with an impact score greater than 0.5%. The amount available for the whole of Flanders is fixed in advance for this. In the call, companies are ranked according to the degree of influence. The companies with the highest degree of influence are dealt with first. Files are processed until the budget is exhausted. The voluntary purchase scheme for pig farms and pig stables does not include the purchase of land and buildings. The suspension compensation is set at a fixed rate: for fattening pigs it is 154 euros, for pigs it is 900 euros. A demolition fee for demolishing pigs (calculated at 100%) is expected of €40/m². Companies are compensated provided the corresponding license and NERs are submitted each time. The demolition allowance is paid after the pigs are demolished.

zero fertilization

In the SPA and VEN (Flemish Environmental Network) regions, zero fertilization will be introduced by 2028 for all plots located in green areas. In current texts, these are described as the totality of the area’s designations of “protected and nature”, “forest” and “other green spaces”. Lots of homes are exempt from zero fertilization. Existing exemption options for zero enrichment in those areas will be eliminated.

For this zero-enrichment scale, a compensation of €12,000 per hectare is offered to those who stopped fertilization on January 1, 2024. This compensation will be gradually reduced to €10,000 for those who stopped fertilization on January 1, 2028.

A wide range of options are provided to companies that see more than 20% of their usable area under zero fertilization and where the viability of the company is at risk.

Search

A portion of the funds released under the policy accompanying the research that contributes to the achievement of the performance appraisal system objectives will be used. The draft PAS text suggests a number of potential topics for further research and also indicates that international collaboration could also occur for certain studies.

net sleep unemployment rate

The performance appraisal system provides for the reform of the NER system. Part of this is skimming of what is called “inactive,” or incomplete. This relates to NERs that have not been full of animals for the past three years on January 1, 2022. A margin of 10% is kept on net full or active unemployment rates to absorb fluctuations in animal density.

Inactive NERs that were acquired when first awarded in 2007 and that have remained in the company since then will not be compensated. The net passive net profit that has been trading since 2007 has been bought at a price of one euro per net. In the case of a farmer who has both the initially assigned net net profit rates and the trading net net profit ratios, the passive net income ratios are formed proportionately. This is done without compensation for net income rates that were initially allocated free of charge, and for net spending policies traded with compensation. The net idle value figures have not been eliminated due to force majeure in the past three years. The calculation of net idle spending rates will then depend on the situation before the disaster. What falls under force majeure is not explained in the PAS Act, only fire and disease are mentioned as examples.

Jan Opsumer

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