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Parliamentary questions
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19 November 2019
Question for written answer E-003873/2019
to the Commission
Rule 138
Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Pollution of nature reserves in Europe due to excess nitrogen deposition

The European Court of Justice ruled on 7 November 2018 in Joined Cases C-293/17 and C-294/17 that Dutch policy on nitrogen deposition was an obstacle to achieving the conservation objectives for nitrogen-sensitive natural assets in nature reserves. In 118 out of the 162 Dutch Natura 2000 sites, nitrogen deposition is excessive.

The Netherlands’ Programme for Tackling Nitrogen applied a threshold of 0.05 moles of nitrogen per hectare per year and a limit value of 1.0 mole per hectare per year. These values thus show that the nitrogen load on nature reserves is unacceptable.

Neighbouring countries such as Germany and Belgium apply even more generous limit values for nitrogen deposition. Experts observe that nitrogen policies in those countries too may be incompatible with the objectives of the Habitats Directive.

1. Can the Commission exclude the possibility that the generous limit values applied by Germany and Belgium, like those in the Netherlands, result in excess nitrogen deposition in Natura 2000 areas? If so, on what scientific basis?

2. Can the Commission launch infringement procedures against EU Member States that pursue nitrogen policies incompatible with the Habitats Directive, such as the Netherlands and possibly Germany and Belgium?

Original language of question: NL
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