The Integrated Approach to Nitrogen

Room for economic development, resilient nature and less nitrogen; that is the objective of the Integrated Approach to Nitrogen, the programme in which government authorities, nature organisations and entrepreneurs collaborate.

For a densely populated country such as the Netherlands, it is quite a challenge to strike a balance between resilient nature and having a healthy economy. The national government and provincial authorities provide entrepreneurs with some room to manoeuvre, because they are important for the economy. At the same time, economic activities need to fit the carrying capacity of nature, as the economy and nature are in a mutually dependent relationship.

For years now, there has been a surplus of nitrogen (ammonia and nitrogen oxides) in Natura 2000 areas. This is harmful to nature and also hinders the issuing of permits for economic activities. Therefore, the Dutch Government has taken the initiative to address these nitrogen issues. Under the Integrated Approach to Nitrogen (PAS), government authorities and social partners collaborate in order to reduce nitrogen emissions and thus also enable economic development.

The national government, the provincial authorities and nature conservation and management organisations are taking measures to restore nature; for example by removing nitrogen-rich layers of soil. Farmers are taking measures in the area of operational management, such as applying manure with low nitrogen losses, and the use of specialised feed. This combination of measures provides room for new economic activity.

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