Schiphol Airport granted nature permit for up to 500,000 flights
Schiphol Airport has been granted a nature permit. Outgoing Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Policy, Christianne Van der Wal, communicated this in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
The permit will allow Schiphol between 440,000 to a maximum of 500,000 flights. Schiphol submitted the permit application on October 1, 2020, and has since supplemented the application multiple times.
The question of the nature permit for Schiphol was recently declared controversial by the Tweede Kamer. Van der Wal highlighted she was aware that the topic was sensitive. However, she said she proceeded with the permit issuance because it's an "individual permit application" compliant with legal criteria and procedures.
"This decision is independent of political considerations or political decision-making, and it concerns the implementation of existing policy," she clarified in the letter. "Moreover, I think it is important that Schiphol complies with laws and regulations,” she further pointed out.
Although Schiphol had not been meeting the nitrogen regulations in past years, this deviation was tolerated. To align with the law, Schiphol acquired the nitrogen rights from twelve neighboring farmers last year.
Schiphol described it as an “important moment,” stating in a press release that “itt shows that Schiphol meets all the requirements of the Nature Protection Act. That gives us and our environment certainty,”
PvdA/GL called the permit's issuance amidst a "climate and nitrogen crisis" as "unprecedented," according to de Telegraaf. "While agriculture and mobility sectors all have to do their fair share to address the nitrogen crisis, the government lets the right of the strongest prevail,” PvdA MP Habtamu Emke de Hoop said.
This nature permit provides authorization for as many as 500,000 flights annually. The final number of permitted flights will be determined in the Airport Traffic Decree, which will outline regulations related to noise pollution at the airport. Securing this nature permit was a condition before finalizing the decree.