Commission approves amendments to Dutch State aid schemes to reduce nitrogen deposition on nature conservation areas

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, amendments to two existing Dutch schemes to compensate livestock farmers for the voluntary definitive closure of livestock husbandry

sites, aimed at reducing nitrogen deposition in overburdened Natura 2000 protected areas.

The Commission approved the original schemes, called LBV and LBV plus, on 2 May 2023 (SA.106555 and SA.106559). The schemes are open to small and medium-sized livestock farmers in the

Netherlands that voluntarily and irrevocably close their breeding sites, where these sites’ nitrogen deposition load exceeds certain minimum levels.

The Netherlands notified to the Commission amendments to the schemes, consisting mainly of a budget increase of €602 million for LBV (from €500 million to €1.10 billion) and of €845 million for LVB

plus (from € 975 million to €1.82 billion). This will allow more farmers eligible under to schemes to be compensated, and the closure of more breeding sites.

The Commission assessed the amended schemes under EU State aid rules, in particular under Art 107(1) and 107(3)(c) TFEU and  the Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas. The Commission found that the amended schemes remain necessary and appropriate to achieve the objective pursued, namely the sustainable and environmentally friendly

development of livestock farming, while also supporting the objectives of the European Green Deal. Moreover, the schemes continue to be proportionate, as they are limited to the minimum necessary,

and the positive effects continue to outweigh any potential negative effects on competition and trade in the EU. Finally, due to the significant increase of the budget, the schemes are subject to an ex

post evaluation. On this basis, the Commission approved the amendments under EU State aid rules.