Following the decision of the Flemish government of 30 November 2016, the significance testing values for ammonia changes to the "appropriate assessment" on 1 July 2017. In order to map the effects of ammonia on Natura 2000 areas, the contribution of the company is assessed with regard to the carrying capacity of the vegetation that is located in the environment of the company within the Habitats Directive Area. This is called the company's contribution to the critical burden for that type of vegetation.
At the request of the Flemish government, the significance testing values for NH3 will be aligned with that of NOx. This means that the significance threshold changes from a contribution of 3% to a contribution of 5%. For companies with a contribution of more than 3%, but less than 5%, it therefore becomes possible again to apply for a re-license and / or extension as long as the threshold of 5% contribution is not exceeded. The implantation of new establishments in the vicinity of the Habitats Directive Area is also possible again, provided that the significance threshold of 5% is not exceeded.
In addition, the obligation to bring about an emission reduction of 30% will also disappear. In the new setup, permits will be possible as long as the ammonia emission does not increase and the contribution to the critical load remains lower than 50%. With increasing emissions or with a new implantation with a contribution between 5% and 50%, a permit is not possible unless an "appropriate assessment" can show that the emissions do not have a significant effect on the surrounding Habitats Directive Areas.