Economy versus Ecology An analysis of the formation of agricultural environmental policy from the 1980s to the 2010s in the Netherlands
Dieën, H. van
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This thesis gives an insight into the formation process of environmental agricultural policy. It explains why policymakers have not been able to combat the negative environmental impact that agricultural practices have had in the Netherlands since the 1980s. It analyses discourses within the policy formation process regarding the issue of excess manure and the use of chemical pesticides. To conduct the analysis, a variety of parliamentary documents has been studied. The two issues have been analysed as case studies in two different chapters and have been compared in a third. Based on the analyses, I conclude that the environmentalists’ discourse has never gained a dominant position in the political debate and has always been overshadowed by discourses that prioritise economic interests. The discourse analysis produced the insight that a family farmers’ discourse has been replaced by a liberal discourse as the most influential in the policy formation process. As a result of the dominance of the two latter discourses, strict environmental measures have always been held off. While much policy has been implemented to counter environmental problems, its extent has always been limited due to protests by politicians guarding the economic interests of individual farmers and the agricultural sector as a whole.