Nitrogen emissions delay work on Zandvoort F1 Circuit

Max Verstappen in a F1 car at Zandvoort
Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen enters a turn at the Zandvoort racetrack during Jumbo Racing Days. May 19, 2019Photo: Mauvries / DepositPhotos

Work on the Zandvoort racing circuit for the Dutch Grand Prix has sustained some "not yet worrying" delays, due to a combination of factors including nitrogen emissions, Jan Lammers, sporting director of the Dutch Grand Prix said to

They did not expect to be able to just start working without any problems after it was announced that there will be a Grand Prix in Zandvoort next year, he said. "Look at what is happening in the construction world. It is not the case that everything goes smoothly and downhill. It is something we have prepared ourselves for", Lammers said to the newspaper. He could not say exactly how much delay they are facing.

Due to a ruling by the Council of State, the Nitrogen Approach Program can no longer be used to grant building permits. The program made it possible to build near nature reserves, on the condition that there would be a restoration of nature in the future. But in May the Council of State ruled that the program is in violation of European rules. It is therefore no longer possible to build in the vicinity of protected nature areas without immediately compensating for the nitrogen emissions caused by the construction works, which means that thousands of building projects have come to a standstill, including the construction of houses and roads.

On Wednesday afternoon, a committee will advise the government on how to reduce nitrogen emissions so that construction permits can be issued again.

"As soon as there is clarity on this, we can continue uninterrupted", Lammers said to the newspaper. "Then it can go very quickly. For example, on the A2 they can asphalt 10 kilometers in one night. Let's hope the advice provides more clarity."

A group of environmental organizations went to court to challenge the construction permit the province of Noord-Holland issued for work around the Zandvoort Circuit, also citing nitrogen emissions as a reason for the work not to be allowed. The environmental groups are also worried that the planned construction will seriously damage parts of the natural dune area and expel animals from their habitat. The case appears in court early next month.