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Government's PLAN to allow aviation to GROW in the Long-Term!

Advisory Committee on Aviation Policy

The government's plan to allow aviation to grow in the long term and under certain conditions is far too vague to map out its environmental impact. There are no concrete goals for improving air quality, limiting noise pollution and protecting nature.

That says the committee for environmental impact assessment (EIA) in a Monday published advice to Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Aviation). The committee believes that Van Nieuwenhuizen should carefully map out the environmental consequences before taking decisions.

The committee's advice, greeted with approval by environmental organizations and other opponents of aviation growth, has a destructive tone for Van Nieuwenhuizen. In an oral explanation, committee chairman Harry Webers himself prefers to speak of "very critical".

The EIA Committee is an independent advisory body that in the past was more often critical of aviation policy. For example, regarding the environmental calculations under the plan, the opening of Lelystad Airport. Or about the (alleged) profit in the area of ​​noise nuisance due to a new start procedure at Schiphol.

"It is up to the minister what she does with our advice," says environmental technologist Webers. In the advice published on Monday it can be read that previous advice, for example on an equal measure of noise nuisance for all airports, has been partly ignored by the ministry. Now the ministry announces that this advice is being studied "and will be included in the further elaboration of the Aviation Memorandum".

Webers on the weight of his advice: "We can't afford to shoot from the hip."


The committee's criticisms concern an environmental impact report drawn up by the ministry itself on the Aviation Note. In this memorandum published in May, the cabinet outlines how the aviation policy for the period 2020-2050 should take shape. Several scenarios have been drawn up, including one in which aviation growth is concentrated at Schiphol.

In that scenario, the cabinet is already contradicting itself, the committee concludes. Schiphol (now 500 thousand flights) could then grow to 800 thousand in 2050, while research by the government itself has shown that, even with an adjustment of the runway system, the maximum annual capacity is 680 thousand.

"We sometimes calculate a bit," says chairman Webers of the advisory committee. Which further points out that many things simply cannot be checked because the Aviation Note is far too vague. Especially about the way in which the Ministry intends to monitor the environmental impact of aviation.

The exact effects cannot be determined until the ministry concretizes the plans, the committee says. All kinds of reflections on electric flying and replacing kerosene with synthetic and biofuel now hardly offer any guidance.

Before new airport decisions are taken, much remains to be investigated and goals must be well formulated, the committee writes. For example, new environmental boundaries that an airport must adhere to must be defined.

In the coming years, the Cabinet will formally allow Schiphol to grow from the ceiling that has now been reached from 500,000 flights per year to 540,000 in 2030. In most aviation scenarios, Van Nieuwenhuizen's Aviation Note, which received a flood of critical views, goes much further. foresee far reaching growth.

The latter is only allowed if Schiphol makes "environmental gains" through all kinds of measures. The EIA Committee notes that it is striking that "the intention to allow 50% of the environmental benefits that Schiphol will achieve after 2020 to the environment and 50% to the sector is no longer explicitly mentioned in the new memorandum."

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