Schiphol must suspend runway renovation, permit is missing
Mobilization for the Environment (MOB) wants to cancel the planned maintenance of six runways at Schiphol for the time being. According to the organization, the airport does not have a nitrogen permit to operate, which will lead to additional nitrogen emissions.
These additional emissions may have consequences for the Natura 2000 regions near Schiphol.
Because Schiphol violates the Nature Conservation Act without a permit, the environmental organization is asking the airport to prevent this from happening. The MOB is also filing an enforcement application with the Department of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to force Schiphol to comply with the law.
Maintenance is scheduled for next year. 500,000 square meters of asphalt must be replaced. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is working on a scheme that will make this possible. This indicates that a lot of equipment is being used. In Zwanenburgbaan alone, milling and soil will be transported and trucks will go back and forth, resulting in more than 25,000 trips. Add to that work on other jobs, MOB environmentalists say.
As a result of the November 2 ruling, in which the State Council ruled that nitrogen emitted during major construction projects could not be ignored, Schiphol could no longer obtain a construction exemption.
If the flights were distributed differently over the runways while in operation, this would lead not to more nitrogen emissions, but perhaps to a different distribution of deposition, the places where the nitrogen settles. According to MOB, this could have a negative impact on Natura 2000 regions, as more nitrogen could end up. The organization notes that eleven of these areas are located within a radius of 25 kilometers around Schiphol.
According to the MOB, Schiphol can prevent an increase in nitrogen emissions on the job by operating fewer flights over that period.
In response, Schiphol informed NOS that maintenance of the runways was necessary to keep them in good condition, so that passengers could fly safely. “We are satisfied that we are operating within the framework of applicable laws and regulations. We are awaiting a ruling on the application for enforcement,” the airport said.
The environmental organization also has another enforcement action against Schiphol regarding the loss of a nature permit for normal business operations. MOB indicates that the state-owned company has been operating without such a legally required license for more than 25 years. Chairman of the Board Johan Vollenbrock: “Schiphol is one of the largest sources of nitrogen emissions in our country and has not been granted a natural permit.”
Last week, the environmental organization demanded that the Binnenhof’s renovation be halted, because no nitrogen permit had been applied for for this either. The building permit was used for renovation. MOB stated that since they could no longer be used, the renovation of the Binnenhof was being done illegally. “If someone has to obey the law, that’s the heart of democracy,” said attorney Valentine Faustin.
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