Nitrogen: No candidate found to carry out impact study on Flemish deal

The Flemish government has again been unable to find a company willing to conduct the environmental impact study required to meet the demands of CD&V for adjustments to the pending nitrogen deal.

Earlier this year, the government launched a tender to find a company willing to carry out an impact study for two adjustments requested by CD&V: that livestock farmers be allowed to buy emission rights from neighbouring farms and that the region relax agricultural licensing rules from 2025.

No candidate was found in the first round. A new tender was then launched which again failed to attract a candidate. A study company had formally expressed interest and was considering the contract, but the short time frame of the agreement made it difficult.

Negotiations under way

As permitted by the Public Procurement Act, Flemish minister for the environment Zuhal Demir (N-VA) ordered a negotiation procedure to see under what conditions this company could carry out the contract.

The nitrogen dossier has been on the Flemish government's agenda for some time, as the three governing parties in Flanders have very different views on how to reduce emissions. Christian democrats CD&V are opposed to what they see as excessive regulation of agriculture. Flemish nationalists N-VA and liberals Open VLD are more closely aligned with the industry's interests.

With elections less than a year away, the long-running dispute has taken on added urgency. Belgium will hold European, federal and regional elections on 9 June 2024. If the nitrogen agreement is not passed in time, the next Flemish government will have to renegotiate how it will tackle the issue.



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