On 25 April 2024 a hearing took place at the District Court of The Hague in summary proceedings (kort geding) initiated by the Dutch branch of Greenpeace (Greenpeace Nederland) against the State of the Netherlands, concerning its inadequate nitrogen-approach.

The most recent ecological reports show that the nitrogen deposition in the Netherlands must be drastically reduced to prevent the most vulnerable nature in the Netherlands from deteriorating beyond repair. The Netherlands is not protecting nature sufficiently, and is thereby in violation of the prohibition of deterioration that it must adhere to pursuant to European law and regulations. According to leading ecologists, the nitrogen deposition levels in 16 habitat types and 3 habitats of species (the ‘Red List’) must be drastically reduced before the end of 2025 in order to prevent their decline and ultimately their loss. However, the State’s nitrogen-approach does not take the nature on the Red List and (therefore) the ecological deadline of 2025 into account. The aim of the summary proceedings is that in the short term, the State draws up a plan of action and set of measures aimed at the preservation of the nature on the Red List (or in any case: as much of it as possible).

Greenpeace initiated these summary proceedings pending the outcome of the substantive proceedings (bodemprocedure) it initiated in July 2023, which also concern the State’s inadequate nitrogen-approach. In addition to the nature on the Red List, the substantive proceedings also focus on other (vulnerable) types of nature where, from an ecological perspective, the nitrogen loads must be reduced before 2030 (the ‘Orange List’). The hearing in these substantive proceedings is scheduled for the end of November 2024.

Summary proceedings pending the outcome of the substantive proceedings are necessary, given the precarious state of the most vulnerable nature in the Netherlands.  A final judgment in the substantive proceedings will come too late for the nature on the Red List, given the scale of the task at hand and the State’s minimal progress to date. The judgment in the summary proceedings is expected in June 2024.

Greenpeace Nederland is supported in these summary proceedings by the Caring Movement (Caring Farmers, -Doctors and -Vets), the Federation of Agro-ecological Farmers (Federatie van Agro-ecologische Boeren), the Dutch partner of Friends of the Earth (Milieudefensie), Mobilisation for the Environment (MOB), the Dutch Nature Conservancy (Natuurbeschermingswacht), SpeciesNL (SoortenNL), the Demeter Foundation (Stichting Demeter), the Dutch partner of BirdLife International (Vogelbescherming Nederland) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). These organizations are not co-plaintiffs in the proceedings, but do support the case.

Greenpeace Nederland is represented in this case by lawyers Bondine Kloostra and Brechtje Vossenberg.

See also (in Dutch):


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