Amsterdam Airport Schiphol may have to significantly reduce the number of flights for environmental reasons
It may be necessary to take drastic measures to secure Schiphol’s future. Government legal advisers are advising draconian measures because the airport does not comply with nitrogen and noise and nuisance regulations, sources told Dutch state television NOS. The airport does not have a nature permit either.
A nature permit is in the process of being drawn up, but it is legally very complex. The number of flights per year may need to be reduced. Without drastic measures, according to lawyers, a license could be issued for a maximum of 400,000 air movements per year, a decrease of 20%.
In order to keep the current annual number, for example, according to lawyers, it is necessary to buy out farms in the wider area. The speed limit on nearby highways should also be reduced to 80 kilometers per hour and polluting businesses in the area should be tackled more strictly. And even then, it remains to be seen whether the nature permit demanded by Schiphol will stand up to the courts.
In the past, Schiphol had to ensure that nature was not damaged, but this was arranged for years through the Habitats and Birds Directive. For a long time, the airport thought that this was enough and that a separate nature permit was not necessary.
In 2019, the cabinet said Schiphol had to apply for this natural permit. During the nitrogen crisis, it turned out that nitrogen emissions from Schiphol have an effect on nature. The airport must also respect all kinds of environmental standards, stench and noise in order to protect residents in particular.
Conservation organizations have threatened to take legal action if there is no permit of a legally valid nature.
The government fears a forced downsizing of Schiphol because the airport is seen as an important engine for the economy. In addition, many foreign travelers use Schiphol to complete their transfer.
The Council of Ministers will examine the Schiphol dossier on Friday, but there is no chance that it will find a solution to the complex legal problem on the same day. The case risks dragging on for years.