Pilot Fryslan #3: Calculator calculates the nitrogen impacts resulting from balancing

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Dutch province of Fryslân, together with a farmer from the West Frisian Islands and AERIUS, have carried out a pilot project concerning the expansion of a livestock farm through balancing. In December 2013, the final analysis was conducted, after an exploratory calculation session in the autumn, followed by expansion of the AERIUS functionality. AERIUS Calculator was used to explore different variants of expansion and balancing. 

The project’s nitrogen contribution to the nitrogen-sensitive ‘grey dunes’ habitat type, after balancing (situation 2).

With this pilot project, the province of Fryslân intends to investigate the merit of AERIUS Calculator for calculating complex permit applications. Pilot projects are important for the AERIUS team to stay in touch with user queries and any desired adjustments and expansions of the Calculator. The pilot project in Fryslân is one of two PAS pilot projects about which State Secretary Dijksma informed the Dutch House of Representatives at the end of 2013.

Quick exploration of variants
The December calculation session was attended by the project leader, a permit issuing official and the province’s ecologist, the farmer and his adviser, as well as AERIUS team members. The group used the Calculator to calculate various possibilities in real time, such as a different type of animal housing, additional animal housing and a supplementary option for balancing. Maps depicting the nitrogen impact on the surrounding nature areas were put on the screen straightaway and discussed.

It became obvious that balancing with livestock farms that are shutting down leads to a substantial decline in animal housing emissions to sensitive vegetation types on the island. However, because of the concentration of activities, the nitrogen burden in fact increases for a small part of a particular type of vegetation. Under current regulation, expansion through balancing seems possible. By zooming in on the particular part of an area where deposition increases, it seems that significant effects could be ruled out.

At this moment, the ecological assessment is being drawn up and the application may be submitted at some time in the near future. This means that a problem that has been ongoing for a long time has been solved through the use of the Calculator.