Netherlands to slash speed limit to drastically reduce air pollutants: Report

100 kilometers per hour speed limit sign
100 kilometers per hour speed limit signPhoto: zharate1/DepositPhotos

Drivers in the Netherlands will soon be limited to just 100 kilometers per hour on Dutch roadways, in an effort to make an immediate and dramatic reduction in air pollution, sources told broadcaster NOS. The new speed limit should mean that the government can press forward with plans to build nearly 75 thousand new homes next year without running afoul of a recent ruling forcing the country to cap emissions, NOS said.

In some places the speed limit will continue to be as high as 130 kilometers per hour from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day, according to the broadcaster's source. It was not immediately clear when the new driving rules would take effect. The change had been rumored for weeks to be among a package of immediate measures to deal with the pollution issue.

The country is also expected to launch a purchasing scheme to get old cars off the road, the report continued. Vehicles over 15 years of age were said to be one of the biggest emitters of nitrogen emissions in the country.

Additionally, the government has an agreement in place to reduce cattle emissions by using a different type of feed that cuts down on the amount of ammonia expelled by cows.

The leak was published hours before Prime Minister Mark Rutte was to have a meeting with representatives of the construction sector and civil engineers about nitrogen emissions and PFAS chemical contaminants. Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and Environment and Housing Minister Stientje van Veldhoven were also scheduled to join the meeting.

Rutte said these plans are for the short-term only, according to NOS. A long-term plan for handling emissions in areas covered by the European Union’s Natura 2000 designation will be revealed in about a month.

Rutte’s right wing VVD party was not thrilled by the speed limit, but conceded it was necessary. Parliamentary party leader Klaas Dijkhoff said his “car party” realized the 100 km/h speed limit is what’s best for the Netherlands.

Van Nieuwenhuizen is also a VVD member, while Van Veldhoven is a member of the centrist D66 party.