Circuit Zandvoort keeps environmental permit for time being
Circuit Zandvoort can retain its environmental permit at least until the final ruling in 2023. That means the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Zandvoort in September can continue as planned. On Tuesday, the Council of State ruled that the permit would not be temporarily suspended, as several environmental organizations had requested.
The Council of State said there were two reasons not to suspend the permit in the provisional ruling on Tuesday. According to the judge, the maximum nitrogen emissions are always less than allowed in the previous situation because, in the past, the circuit area could be used all year round for motorsports and other major events. Under the current permit, this is limited to a few days.
The highest general administrative court also weighed up the interests of nature and the economic interests of the circuit. That currently falls in favor of the circuit in Zandvoort. The circuit has already made “significant investments” in the terrain and infrastructure of Zandvoort and the surrounding area. The current nature permit allows fewer activities on the site than in the past, and due to the coronavirus crisis, racing was temporarily impossible. That is why, at least until the final ruling in 2023, the events and activities at the Zandvoort circuit can continue, the Council ruled.
Nature and environmental organizations appealed to the Council of State after the court in Haarlem declared their objections to the circuit unfounded in April. Stichting Duinbehoud, Stichting Rust bij de Kust, Natuur- en Milieufederatie Noord-Holland, and Mobilization for the Environment (MOB) argued that the circuit should not have received an environmental permit. According to them, the calculation used to determine nitrogen emissions is incorrect. The racing causes more damage to the protected natural areas around the circuit than the calculations show, MOB said.
According to the Council of State, further research is needed to test this calculation. That was not possible during the preliminary hearing, which the environmental organizations requested in an attempt to suspend the permit until the final verdict.