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Optimisation of the standard monitoring network of the Mineral Policy Monitoring Network : Study of retrenchment options

Optimalisatie van het basismeetnet van het Landelijk Meetnet effecten Mestbeleid : Studie naar bezuinigingsmogelijkheden

Synopsis

Any reduction in the budget of the standard monitoring network of the National Mineral Policy Monitoring Network (LMM) may lead to non-compliance with the European Union's reporting obligations. Budgetary retrenchment can result in the incapacity to accurately track and demonstrate long-term developments in nitrate concentrations in natural waters and to determine the relationship between nitrate concentrations and farm practices. The consequence will be a loss of insight into the effects of farm practices - and of changes in these practices - on water quality. This is the outcome of a study carried out by RIVM in cooperation with the University of Utrecht and LEI, part of Wageningen University and Research Centre. The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (I&M) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I). Retrenchments: easing of obligations of the derogation: Despite this outcome, the Ministry of I&M has requested that four scenarios be drawn up to explore the consequences of a budgetary cut of 25-50%. Such retrenchments would appear only to be realizable in the case that the European Commission adjusts the obligations of the derogation for the monitoring network, which is a part of the LMM. Should the Netherlands wish to retain the derogation, it will be necessary to obtain permission for these changes in the network from the European Commission. Derogation is an exceptional case that allows, under specified conditions, the use of more animal manure on agricultural land than permitted by a European Directive (the Nitrates Directive). Consequences of scenarios: Two of the four scenarios are based on a network set-up that differs from the current LMM set-up. While these two scenarios are the greatest money-savers, they produce new types of datasets that are difficult to combine and compare with existing ones. As a result, the continuity in the LMM dataset is lost, and long-term developments cannot be shown and reported to the European Commission. As all EU Member States have to report on these developments every four years, these scenarios may lead to legal problems. The remaining two scenarios are based on the current set-up of the LMM, but the number of parameters are reduced by including fewer monitoring locations or by decreasing the frequency of sampling. Relatively fewer legal problems are expected to be encountered with these two scenarios because the type of dataset does not change and, therefore, the LMM dataset retains its continuity.
 

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