Thousands of Dutch farmers have gathered in a village in the Netherlands today (Wednesday, June 22) to take part in a protest against proposed nitrogen emissions reductions.
Farmers from across the country travelled along the highways on their tractors, causing serious traffic disruption, to Stroe in Gelderland, which is around 70km east of Amsterdam.
Police had warned organisers of today’s demonstration, which included farming organisations Agractie, LTO and Farmers Defense Force, that it was illegal to drive tractors on the highways.
Organisers had claimed that up to 40,000 farmers had taken part in the demonstration.
The Dutch government recently announced proposed targets to cut nitrogen emissions by between 12-70% depending on the location.
The highest rate applies to areas close to nature reserves and places where water and soil quality must improve significantly.
€24.3 billion is available for the entire approach, in addition to €7 billion already committed.
The government said that the Netherlands is facing “far-reaching tasks” when it comes to improving, nature, climate and water quality.
The administration admitted that the task for agriculture was “huge” and it pledged to support the sector.
It urged farmers to consider three options: Becoming more sustainable; relocating; or exiting the industry.
The announcement has been met by strong resistance from farming organisations in the country, which led to today’s protest.
Chair of LTO Netherlands, Sjaak van der Tak, said that the proposals were “unrealistic”.
He said the decision to shift responsibility to the country’s provincial governments will create an impasse which will not help nature.
“That is such a shame, especially because widely supported, realistic proposals have been made by farmers, nature and business organisations,” he said.
Meanwhile, police and emergency services are reporting that several people have been injured following a collision between a tractor and a truck on the A12 near Ede.
Police have said that they are investigating the cause of the accident with the road towards Utrecht closed.