The outbreak of swine fever in the Netherlands in 1997 spurred on a comprehensive reconstruction of the sandy areas in the southern and eastern regions of the country. These areas are known as concentration areas, as they house large concentrations of intensive livestock farms. The situation is far from sustainable. The veterinary vulnerability of livestock farming is great and the environmental burden caused by the farms is enormous, placing the quality of water, landscape, woodlands and nature under extreme pressure. A special Restructuring Act provides the framework for altering the spatial development of the concentration areas. The purpose is to provide an impetus for quality by creating a new, sustainable balance between the functions of the rural area by finding cohesive solutions for the problems faced by these functions. Quick action is a hallmark of the act, which has the features of an emergency act. The provincial authorities play a main role in drafting and implementing plans for individual restructuring areas. The problem will be to combine local and regional wishes and views with National Guidelines. The future of intensive livestock farming is uncertain. There are four spatial zoning rules that restrict the possibilities for these farms to develop. The outcome of restructuring will hinge on the way in which these zones are used. The government provides incentives in the form of subsidies for farms to shut down.
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