On 16 October, farmers protested in the vicinity of RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven. The Director-General of RIVM, Hans Brug, was present at the protest site.
First of all, he thanked the farmers and the protest organisation for not protesting at the RIVM offices, so that the necessary work for public health could continue. He further emphasised that RIVM has taken notice of the doubts and criticisms and that the method used to determine nitrogen precipitation is robust and scientifically sound. An additional evaluation will soon be carried out by national and international scientists and knowledge institutes. In this evaluation, RIVM will take into account the criticism that we have heard today and also earlier this week.
RIVM has received many questions about the methods used to calculate and measure nitrogen levels. Nitrogen can have a negative effect on nature. That is why the Netherlands has proposed measures to protect the so-called Natura 2000 sites. RIVM is working with many other knowledge partners and the agricultural sector to gather knowledge about the levels of nitrogen present in the Netherlands and what effects this may have on nature. The knowledge on this subject has been built up over many years through measurements, calculations and research into the distribution of nitrogen in the atmosphere. This has always been tested and reviewed by other experts, including in international reviews.