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Farmers on tractors bring gridlock to the roads

Flemish farmers have brought disruption to roads around Ghent, Hasselt, Tienen, Geel and Roeselare.  They have taken to the highways on 3,000 tractors to protest the lack of a nitrogen policy.

The protest has the support of several farmers’ organisations.  The farmers intend to drive around on their tractors and slow the traffic.  No blockades are planned. The protest will be felt in all five Flemish provinces.

Georges Van Keerberghen of the Framers’ Union says his members refuse to accept the fact that the Flemish government is playing with their future. The farmers claim uncertainty is suffocating entrepreneurship and the dynamism of agricultural businesses.  The future of thousands of families is at stake, they say.

The protest follows a court decision in which a judge refused to licence agricultural expansion because a farm was producing too much nitrogen.  The decision triggered paralysis as no further licences are being issued ahead of the introduction, promised by the end of the year, of new nitrogen policies. So far nothing but a few guidelines for nitrogen emissions by industry and farming have materialised.

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