Hopefully objections are taken seriously

41 farms on the infamous red PAS list (Programmatic Approach Nitrogen)must be entered into by a nitrogen agreement. But the consequences are also great for other companies that are not forced to close because there are new and strict rules. Reason why the whole agricultural sector responds to this with objections.

170 pages

On the last day to raise objections, the agricultural organization Boerenbond organized a press event and a farmers’ lunch for commuters and passers-by in its hometown of Leuven.

We therefore hope that, in the light of the objections, the Flemish Government will enter into a dialogue with the sector to jointly consider possible solutions for our farmers, for our nature and for our food production. – Photo: AV

Lode Ceyssens, chairman of Boerenbond: “We have read the PAS agreement carefully, and it has serious consequences for many of our farmers and gardeners. Our provincial structures and departments have formulated objections after studying this agreement. We wrote our objection based on their findings. It became a comprehensive 170-page document. “

The organization handed over this statement of objection to Leuven’s mayor, Mohamed Ridouani, and his college of councilors on June 17. “We also gave them a brief explanation of the impact of this draft PAS on the agricultural sector.” Ceyssens was pleased with the positive response in Leuven’s city office. “The mayor confirmed that farmers are crucial in our society and for our food security. To ensure our production, farmers must have a livelihood. ”

Sector will take responsibility

President Ceyssens emphasizes that agriculture does not want to evade its responsibilities. ‘There is a nitrogen problem. Agriculture accounts for 29.4% of the nitrogen deposition in the special habitat areas. We will do our utmost to help reduce the impact on nature.

Our main message in our objection is that this nitrogen agreement will have unforeseeable and unbearable consequences for our farmers on their farms. Nitrogen that is already disappearing within the sector is not taken into account. The plan does not take into account the nitrogen that disappears as a result of the purchase scheme for pig farms and does not take into account the nitrogen that disappears at the end of farms (the average age of our farmers is 56 years and only 12% of those over 50 have a successor). But also that this agreement is built on legal quicksand. ”

But also an ecological substructure interrupts according to Ceyssens. ‘Europe does not ask that we work with a’ critical deposit value of so many kilos’. They ask that by 2050 nature should be in good conservation condition. We will also work on this, but design PAS lacks support for this model. ”


According to the BB chairman, there is far too little focus on innovation, not only in stables but also on feed and in business management. “In addition, nitrogen from agriculture is treated in a different way than nitrogen from other sectors (foreign, traffic, industry). We do not understand that: nitrogen is nitrogen. It must be nature that nitrogen falls on where it comes from. It is therefore incomprehensible that farms have to disappear and other farms are subject to impossible reduction standards, while with one permit for a foreign investment (ed. Two sizes and two weights! ”


The cities and municipalities that have received the objections have 30 days to submit them to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. There they must go through the many objections thoroughly and make a synthesis of the relevant elements.

“I hope this public inquiry has not been a hoax. If I look at how intensively the sector has worked on it, I can only hope that the Flemish Government will take this seriously. We therefore hope that the Flemish Government will enter into a dialogue with the sector on the basis of the objections to jointly considering feasible solutions for our farmers, for our nature and for our food production, “Ceyssens concludes.

Anne Vandenbosch

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