Dutch growers simply do not have the money to comply with the stricter purification rules for surface water. That is why the purification duty of surface water for horticulture is postponed from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2018. On that date, however, stricter efficiency must be achieved: 95% instead of the previously required 75%, writes Secretary Mansveld to parliament.

A few weeks ago, a report by the LEI showed that growers simply have not got the money to comply with the strict rules. According to secretary Mansveld, policy will now take into account the economic situation of the greenhouse industry, but also the need to improve the quality of the surface water.

Economic situation
"The standard for what is retained as affordable in this study is 1% net loss, which corresponds to the current economic situation of the sector with 12.5% income loss. 50-60% of the companies should be able to meet that standard by 2018. This percentage will be increased significantly, partly because companies can jointly reach a (cheaper) collective purification system. It is also expected that the costs of these systems will get increasingly lower through innovation in the coming years, and therefore more affordable. Small businesses, for example, could include the deployment of mobile treatment systems. Finally, companies that do not produce wastewater or refrain from using crop protection are exempt from these regulations,” writes Mansveld.

In regard to stricter regulations: "A purification efficiency of 75% in 2016 would be sufficient to halve the number of exceedances by 2018. Next, a purification efficiency of 95% in 2021 would be necessary to ensure that no more exceedances occur by 2023. A recent study by the LEI showed that the costs of an installation with a purification efficiency of 75% and of 95% are more or less the same, so that a gradual introduction poses no cost savings. The advantage of the higher purification efficiency of 95%, is that a larger reduction of exceedances is achieved, and the added advantage of only having to invest once. One must also take into account the authorization of individual crop protection products for greenhouses in the Netherlands. A generic purification efficiency of 75% is probably insufficient to allow for individual resources."

Read the full letter here.