This is evident from a large amount of information that has come out through a WOB request from Greenpeace.
For example, there was originally a warning against the large-scale purchase of land around nature reserves, because the motivation for the purchase could be unsound. Then €5 billion will have been spent, but there is a real chance that the problem will not be solved.
The reason for this warning is a comparative study into the protective measures that are being taken in the Netherlands and Germany for dry heathland (an important signal biotope in the Netherlands).
In Germany, with a different package of measures, the conservation status of this heath is good, while in the Netherlands it has been bad for twenty years. Nevertheless, the Netherlands will not change the package of measures, but opts for the purchase of land around it.
An explanation states: “The Netherlands classifies the threats from the dry heath differently than Germany. In the Netherlands, the threats are mainly formed by agriculture (ammonia and water abstraction) and natural processes (such as reforestation). In Germany, the disappearance of extensive agricultural activities (such as grazing) are a concern. In contrast to the Netherlands, pollution from sources other than agriculture (especially traffic and industry) is also a threat.”
There are also questions about the use of the Aerius calculation model: “It is striking that the threats (with weighting: high, medium, low) and measures that the Netherlands reports to the European Commission are not substantiated. This brings us to the question whether the Netherlands with the calculation model Aerius has the right tool to steer towards the European objectives of the Habitats and Birds Directive: a good conservation status.”
Aerius not validated
There is also further criticism of Aerius – an instrument that has already been designated as unsuitable by the Hordijk Committee: “It should be noted that Aerius has not been validated with measurements. It is uncertain whether the calculated depositions in nature reserves correspond to the actual depositions. ” And: “This Commission (Hordijk) has made firm statements about the lack of Aerius as a licensing system, the great inaccuracy of the hexagon deposition calculations, the uninnovative character of AERIUS/OPS, the non-application of satellite data, the lack of model ensembles, etc. This seriously undermines the analytical quality of the nitrogen system. The social support for nitrogen policy based on Aerius is not served by this.
These criticisms did not appear in the final report of ABD Topconsult, and therefore did not reach the minister and members of parliament. The commission for this report was already given in March 2020, but it was not published until a year later. In that year, all the official parties involved, as well as the RIVM and Wageningen UR, were consulted.
Scientific information was requested, but – as appears from email exchanges between officials – scientists have also been played with. For example, certain people at RIVM have been asked to make a contribution, while others are expressly not. According to the clients, the long-term vision also had to become a piece that could be used in many directions. It not only had to break free from political forces, but a sitting minister had to be able to both embrace it and ‘dissociate himself from it as much as possible’.
In addition, the report should not only provide a solution to the nitrogen problem itself, but should also serve to get ‘additional spatial measures for nature’ through. Seen in that light, it is perhaps not surprising that the criticism of buying up nature did not make it into the final version.
Van der Plas wants clarification
BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) has directly asked questions in the House of Representatives to the new nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal about these findings of Boerenbusiness from the WOB documents. “The cabinet has been sitting there cold for 24 hours and already shitting,” BBB captain Caroline van der Plas writes on Twitter. She mainly wants to know from Minister Van der Wal why the critical voices of civil servants have been deleted in the final version of the report.
Cabinet is cold 24 hours and already ???? to the marble. Critical voices about nitrogen policy from reports held by senior officials from VARIOUS departments. (see: https://t.co/mD5d8Ac0mk)
Urgent parliamentary questions submitted to the @MinisterNenS Christianne van der Wal ???? pic.twitter.com/2UxWfdV1vj
– Caroline van der Plas (@ lientje1967) January 11, 2022
It concerns a letter to (!) ABD topconsult. (see appendix 3/7 172a). So nothing has been deleted.
In that letter I recognize the criticism of the Agri Facts Foundation, the food industry-funded #doubt brigade.
— Tjeerd de Groot (@TjeerdD66) January 12, 2022
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Officials take critical notes from nitrogen study – ‘Cabinet is cold for 24 hours and already has shit on the marble’ – Foodlog