Court annuls 29 nature permits in nitrogen cases

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The province of Overijssel wrongly granted nature permits to 29 breeders to keep cattle in stables. In most cases, the court clarifies that it cannot be said with certainty that livestock farming will not affect protected natural areas. This is why the province must reconsider license applications from breeders.

Most breeders would have low emission housing systems. These should lead to less nitrogen emissions compared to normal stables. The province had taken into account the lower emission factors in the nature permit, when according to the court there is “doubt” as to whether the barn systems actually reduce nitrogen emissions.

In two cases, the court ruled that breeders did not need nature permits. This is why the province could not grant this natural permit to companies.

The court also ruled that the province should better investigate whether, for example, grazing and fertilization can have negative effects on protected Natura 2000 areas. In these cases, it is the grazing of cattle in the meadow and the fertilization of the land. Depending on the province, breeders do not need a nature permit for this.

The lawsuits were brought by the Mobilization for the Environment (MOB) and the Association for the Environment (VL). Environmental organizations deal with various nitrogen issues, including on nature permits issued.

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