Schiphol's growth possibilities to be re-examined

Schiphol Airport
. Source: Shirley de Jong

State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment is having the environmental impact assessment (MER) of Schiphol Airport re-examined, she announced in a letter sent to the airport and the Environmental Council, NOS reports. The report was set to be sent to the Environmental Council earlier this week, but that was postponed because the Ministry has questions about the calculations. 

The MER is used to calculate whether and how much Schiphol can grow after 2020. Such a report was presented last year, but due to the use of a wrong Dutch calculation model, it had to be redone. In this second report, European model modelDoc29 was used to better map aircrafts' effect on the environment, according to the broadcaster. 

But the results in this second report, raise too many questions, Dijksma wrote. "Over the past days I found that there are major differences in the outcomes between previously presented calculations carried out with the Dutch calculation model and the calculations made with the new modelDoc29."

Earlier this week, it was also revealed that there are problems in the calculations of the MER for Lelystad Airport. But according to the State Secretary, the problems with Schiphol's MER are not the same. In Lelystad Airport's MER, mistakes were made in the calculation of aircraft noise at different heights. 

Schiphol's MER shows inexplicable outcomes, Kees van Oijk, who already saw the figures as a resident representative in the Environmental Council, said to NOS. "While the new calculations show that noise pollution in the interior area is worse than thought, the same calculations allow more growth", he said. "Everybody understands that that can not be correct." Van Oijk does not rule out that Schiphol consciously messed with the models to allow for higher growth. According to him, Dijksma is trying to prevent a debacle, as in the case of Lelystad, where she had to admit that things were not in order after the MER was published. 

In a response to the postponement of the MER presentation, Schiphol said that the airport agrees that "all starting points borne by all parties at the table" are necessary for a thorough advisory. The Amsterdam airport added that it is sure the starting points and calculations in the MER are correct, as they were approved by external parties, according to NOS. 

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