Comparison of ammonia regulation in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark: legal framework.

Published online
25 Jul 2018
Content type

Anker, H. T. & Baaner, L. & Backes, C. & Keessen, A. & Möckel, S.

Publication language
Denmark & Germany & Netherlands & Nordic Countries


This comparative report is based on the findings in three national reports from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands elaborated as part of a study of ammonia regulation of livestock installations with a particular regard to Natura 2000 sites and the Habitats Directive. The main focus in the report is on livestock installations, whereas the regulation regarding the spreading of manure is not elaborated upon, apart from a short note on manure spreading techniques. The national reports indicate certain variations in the ammonia regulation in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark respectively. While all three countries are facing issues regarding terrestrial Natura 2000 habitats sensitive to eutrophication by ammonia or nitrogen, the legal approaches to addressing ammonia emissions from livestock installations are somewhat different and not easy to compare. In Denmark the regulation is centred around the individual environmental permits required for almost all livestock installations, although the assessment and permit criteria have to some extent been standardised as regards so-called "ammonia sensitive" habitats, including also areas outside Natura 2000 sites. In Germany a Natura 2000 assessment is linked to different permit procedures, including building permits as the thresholds for environmental permits are relatively high. The criteria regarding "ammonia or nitrogen sensitive" habitats have also to some extent been standardised following court rulings laying down certain thresholds. These thresholds are incorporated into a proposed amendment of the so-called TA Luft standards to be applied in permit procedures. In the Netherlands a novel approach has been adopted in 2015 in the form of the so-called programmatic (or integrated) approach to nitrogen/ammonia (Programmatische Aanpak Stikstof - PAS). This approach seeks to deal with the assessment requirements of the Habitats Directive Art. 6(3) at a "programmatic" level considering general reduction trends as well as (planned) nature management and restoration measures with the purpose to stabilize and in the end improve the conservation status of Natura 2000 areas and to establish a "room for development" for subsequent permits.

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