Background on the “second opinion” on the scientific basis for calculated need for nitrogen
reduction. In the Agreement on Green Transition of the Agriculture Sector (October 2021), the second opinion is described as follows:
“The parties to the Parliament agreement agree on having carried out an independent assessment of the scientific basis for the calculated need for reduct ion of nitrogen (“second opinion”) with the involvement of international experts. A second opinion will include an assessment of the scientific basis for the calculated need for reduction of nitrogen with a focus on exploring whether assumptions, precondit ions or choices have been made that could lead to adjustments of the estimated need for reduction of the nitrogen load on coastal waters within the legal and scientific framework of the Water Framework Directive.” As described in the terms of references for the second opinion , it is divided into three phases . T he involvement of international experts that constitutes the basis for this report takes place in phase two out of three.
• The first phase of the second opinion consists of 1) a review of current scien tific and legal basis for thecalculated need for Nitrogen reduction and 2) an analysis of the legal and scientific room for manoeuvring within the Water Framework Directive. This analysis was provided by COWI and NIRAS and included remarks from stakeholde rs. It forms a basis for the international evaluation in phase two.
• In phase two, the main task for the panel of experts was to evaluate the Danish management approach from both a scientific and legal perspective and to evaluate, whether there are other potential approaches within the scientific and legal boundaries of the Water Framework Directive.
• The international evaluation and its recommendations should provide basis for implementation in the thirdphase, where a revised assessment of the remai ning need for action will be conducted to conclude the second opinion.
The results of the preliminary analysis in phase I, including comments from stakeholders, were presented to the political parties behind the Agreement on Green Transition of the Agricul ture Sector of 2021 . The terms of reference for the phase II international evaluation state that the second opinion should be carried out with regards to both a legal evaluation of the Danish implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and a scientific evaluation of the basis for the calculation of the need for reduction of nitrogen load.
The Ministry of Finance, The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and The Ministry of Environment (hereafter the Ministries) has provided the panel w ith technical support as part of preparations for the evaluation