Major traffic disruptions expected across Flanders due to farmers' protest on Friday

From all over Flanders, farmers and horticulturists will travel to Brussels with at least 1,500 tractors on Friday morning to demonstrate against the nitrogen agreement being negotiated by the Flemish government. The action is expected cause traffic disruption on several major traffic axes in Flanders, according to federal police. Brussels police advise against coming to the capital by car.

Gathering points for the convoy descending on Brussels have been set up in all Flemish provinces. From 6 am in the morning, activists will drive towards the capital via secondary roads. They are expected to arrive in Brussels around 10 am. Agricultural and horticultural workers will leave the capital via the same roads in the afternoon.

The arterial roads around Brussels that the activists will use are the N1, the N2, the N8 and the N9. Detailed maps showing the various departure points are available on the federal police and Farmers' Union websites. The tractor column will pass through the Flemish towns of Lier, Mol, Diest, Hasselt, Sint-Truiden, Leuven, Mechelen, Torhout, Izegem, Tielt, Deinze, Ghent, Oudenaarde, Dendermonde, Aalst and Ninove - among others.

The federal police advise drivers to avoid the regional roads and the wide area around them, and to use alternative means of transport such as bicycles or trains. For those who can, it is best to work at home on Friday.

Agricultural businesses consider the Flemish government's previously agreed 'nitrogen deal' too strict and, in many cases, unfeasible.

The nitrogen dossier has caused much commotion in the agricultural sector. Agricultural businesses consider the Flemish government's previously agreed 'nitrogen deal' too strict and, in many cases, unfeasible, while various environmental organisations believe that the agreement needs to go further. The government deal states that pig and poultry farms must reduce nitrogen emissions from stables by 60 per cent by 2030, and the pig population must be reduced by 30 per cent by 2030. The most polluting farms will have to close their doors by 2025.

The Flemish government on Friday will attempt to reach a new agreement on the nitrogen dossier after earlier negotiations repeatedly failed. Governing parties N-VA (Flemish nationalists) and CD&V (Christian Democrats) disagree strongly on how to redesign the deal and were unable to come to new agreement after marathon negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday. A new failure on Friday is likely to plunge the Flemish government deeper into crisis mode.



#FlandersNewsService | Photo shows a previous protest of farmers against the lack of decisions in the nitrogen emission crisis, December 2021 © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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