EEB: Nature groups call for dialogue as Dutch farmers protests turn violent
Farm protests have turned violent in the Netherlands after the Dutch government announced plans to cut harmful emissions from agriculture. Environmental groups have called for cooperation.
In an open letter published in the press earlier this month (translated below) nature and environmental groups call for the ongoing debate – dubbed the “nitrogen crisis” – to be used as an opportunity to boost nature and protect our health in cooperation with farmers.
Most farmers taking part in the protests joined peacefully by creating impressive convoys of tractors on highways and blocking streets around the Hague.
However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned a minority that resorted to dangerous and threatening tactics, saying: “Demonstration is allowed if you follow the rules, if not, the law applies.”
Earlier this week farmers in the city of Groningen hung a noose from a tree and broke open the doors of the town hall. One man was arrested for driving his tractor into a police horse.
Farmers are unhappy about new measures to cut ammonia, nitrogen oxide and nitrous oxide pollution from farms. Existing rules were found to be in breach of EU laws to protect biodiversity.
Emissions from farms are often responsible for a large percentage of harmful air pollution in urban areas with serious consequences for human health and the natural and built environment.
Children, pregnant women and the elderly are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.
This week the European Environment Agency published its annual Air Quality in Europe report. It revealed that while the situation is improving across Europe, the negative impacts of air pollution are still enormous and that emissions from agriculture had actually been rising since 2013.
Read the full article here.