Many horse farmers are concerned about the government’s approach to nitrogen. They fear that it will affect their situation. This came to the fore last week during a webinar by the LTO horse breeding division and the Federation of Dutch Riding Centers (FNRS).
In a survey conducted during this webinar, 61 percent of followers said they were worried, and 11 percent were very worried. This FNRS manager Haike Blaau has also encountered this among members of his organization and knows that LTO receives many signals from horse owners.
Blaauw fears the consequences will be significant for the entire sector: “If there is no place for riding stables, boarding stables or sports and education stables, fewer horses will have to be raised and we will sell fewer horses. The sport will become smaller and everyone will be affected by this.”
Blau finds that the plans lead to uncertainty: “There are people who want to transfer their farms to their children or use pastures for the movement of their horses. It is not only clear what the consequences of legislation on this transfer will be, there is also talk of permission to graze. This may also have serious consequences for the horse. and entrepreneur.
Just like other entrepreneurs, there is a lot of turmoil among horse owners. The unrest arose after the drafting of the National Rural Area Program (NPLG) start note on June 10, along with the related map, which was very confrontational for the agricultural sector.
It is true that nitrogen reduction applies to every region and not to every company
Mark Heigmans, Topic Coordinator at LTO Nederland: “The NPLG is made up of the blocks of nature, water and climate. It offers a glimpse into the year 2050. Nitrogen is part of the nature block. In October, there will be a speech on climate and water. By the summer of 2023, the provinces should be I’ve made area charts for all the blocks. Good for everyone to follow. You might be fine with nitrogen now, but that doesn’t mean you’re also okay with the climate or the water.
According to Heijmans, the minister has now indicated that the nitrogen map is a guideline. Provinces may deviate from this. Perhaps the card is off the table, the primary question marks are not yet. For example, it is not clear what the cards are based on. It is true that there is a discount for each region and not for each company.
Counties on the move
Since the counties are in charge, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the reports from the counties and municipalities right now, says Marek Tonders, LTO Bardenhoderej and attorney. It is possible that the boundaries of the network of nature can be changed. Plans are available for inspection. Then you must submit your view within six weeks. By following the municipality and county, you’ll also stay informed of what’s going on in the same area.
Rod van Herk, environmental and spatial planning specialist at Van Dun Advies, thinks it’s important for an entrepreneur to know what’s going on with himself: “The invitation is important, but ultimately it’s up to the kitchen table to determine what that means for the entrepreneur and his future.
Several Permits Required
Van Herk knows that a horse owner must have different permits. While a zoning plan and environmental permit, which look at private planning, are often in order, the status is often different than a permit under the Nature Protection Act.
In practice, we see that the law of nature conservation is often missing. This is because, in the context of this law, the government has traditionally considered large intensive livestock farms. This has slowly expanded to include dairy farming and other sectors. Now it comes to the fact that every company must have a license under this law. The specialist explains.
This permit also monitors animal population conservation, because the effects on Natura 2000 areas are examined. “This is exactly what the nitrogen law oversees,” says Van Herk. “It’s a good idea to check all permits and, if in doubt, ask your interest group or advisor to take a look.”
Not immediately in violation
Van Herk knows that an entrepreneur without a permit does not immediately violate the Nature Conservation Act. So the main consideration is environmental permission at the moment the Natura 2000 area is set. That could be 1994, 2000 or 2004. Then you have to go back to a permit from 1993, for example, which was in effect at the time of the designation.
Van Herk also finds that in practice there may have been a license in 1993 for, say, five horses, but now there are, say, a hundred horses. Since the I&R Commitment was introduced in 2021, these have become more visible to the government.
When you grow from five to a hundred animals, you have a gap. And what do you do next? I will not wait patiently. As an entrepreneur, you have to look to the future and be prepared for it. You won’t get much more by sitting still, Van Dun Advice specialist advises.
Natura 2000 . Nature and Distance Conservation Act
According to Rod van Herk of Van Dun Advies, the number of horses for which a person needs a Nature Conservation Act permit depends, among other things, on the distance to the Natura 2000 area. There are companies located in such an area. If you have one horse in there, you really have a huge impact on that. If you are theoretically more than 25 kilometers away from anywhere, you do not need a permit at the moment. After that you will not have any influence on the models in this area. Whether individuals with horses are approached, he says, depends in part on the operations of the county area.