Reduce Den Haag speed limit, Ban old diesels: City Council members

Street scene near the provincial house of The Hague
Street scene near the provincial house of The HaguePhoto: kruwt/DepositPhotos

Four political parties have teamed up on a proposal to reduce the highway speed limit in Den Haag to 80 kilometers per hour. The parties, including the city’s governing coalition members GroenLinks and D66, have also called for a ban on older diesel vehicles and an expansion of the city’s environmental zones.

The rule changes also have the backing of the animal rights party PvdD and the Christian party bloc CU/SGP. Together the four groups represent 20 of the city’s 45 council seats.

The measures could allow for the continuation of construction projects in the city that might be at risk due to the affect emissions have on nature and agriculture. The group released the joint statement because of a recent Council of State ruling on nitrogen emissions, and the response it prompted from one city alderman.

Den Haag should consider banning diesel vehicles which are at least 15 years old, and the city’s environmental road should cover the entirety of the S100 city center ring road, the group told newspaper AD. Another idea from the group is to limit the number of holiday flights departing from Rotterdam-The Hague Airport.

“The city representatives must be courageous and make choices: there are many possibilities to save housing construction projects and make the Den Haag air cleaner,” said GroenLinks councillor Maarten de Vuyst. De Vuyst was responding to Boudewijn Revis, the city’s alderman in charge of urban development and housing.

Revis, of the right-wing VVD, said he found the Council of State ruling worrying. “Housing construction must be exempted from the nitrogen rules,” he told NOS earlier this month.

But Pieter Grinwis of CU/SGP disagreed. He cited work by the municipality of Veldhoven, just south of the Eindhoven Airport, which he said was finding ways of pressing ahead with large construction projects.

Revis can do the same in Den Haag, Grinwis said, “provided he ensures that on balance the nitrogen emissions do not increase. Ultimately, that is a matter of political will.”

D66 city councilor Dennis Groenewold added that it was up to Den Haag to find solutions themselves, arguing they should not rely on the national government to come to the rescue. “Den Haag will grow to over 600,000 residents. That is why considerably more housing needs to be added,” he said.