Thousands of farmers are heading towards The Hague on Wednesday morning to again protest against the government's nitrogen policy. The police ordered the farmers to stay off the highways with their tractors. Public works department Rijkswaterstaat therefore expects a morning rush hour that is no busier than usual, NU.nl reports.
Wild animal populations in both the Netherlands' open natural areas and in the agricultural landscaped halved since 1990, according to the Living Planet Report Netherlands published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Thursday. According to the report, the high nitrogen precipitation - largely caused by livestock farming - is the main culprit behind the decline, NU.nl reports.
Owners of a Suzuki Vitara or a Jeep Grand Cherokee must return their diesel cars to the manufacturer for a software update. The software currently installed in the cars report much less nitrogen emissions than the cars actually emit. Minister Cora van Veldhoven of Environment called it unacceptable and issued this mandatory recall, NOS reports.
Construction production in the Netherlands increased last year, but that growth will stall in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the nitrogen emission problem. The construction of new houses and infrastructure projects will be particularly affected, according to projections published by the economic institute for construction EIB on Wednesday, NU.nl and RTL Nieuws report.
Aviation in the Netherlands can only be allowed to grow if the sector decreases its nitrogen emissions, a committee on nitrogen emissions led by Johan Remkes said in advice to the government about air travel. Remkes thinks it only fair that aviation, like other sectors, makes a balanced contribution to reducing emissions. If that doesn't happen, Schiphol can't grow any further and Lelystad Airport can't open for holiday flights, the committee said, NOS reports.
As protesting farmers and construction workers caused traffic problems in multiple places in the Netherlands throughout the day, the expectation for evening rush hour looks pretty bleak. At 3:55 p.m. there were still 41 areas of traffic jams, affecting about 165 kilometers of roadway according to infrastructure authority Rijkswaterstaat.
"Dozens of fines were issued during the day and a multitude of tractors were removed from the road," police said in a statement.
Protesting farmers are causing quite a bit of traffic chaos in Netherlands on Wednesday morning. At Alkmaar, a group of around 80 tractors climbed onto the A9 highway towards Amsterdam - against the orders of the police.
Motorists must take longer travel time into account on Wednesday morning due to protests by farmers and construction workers. The construction workers are planning go-slow actions on Dutch highways and provincial roads. A court banned the farmers from blocking distribution centers, but other types of actions are planned.
A package of urgent measures to reduce the level of nitrogen emissions and ground contamination was approved during a Tuesday night vote by senators in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. The bill allows for tighter nitrogen regulations on construction projects, the reduction of nitrogen emissions from livestock, and the accelerated improvement and restoration of Natura 2000 nature sites.
Protesting farmers will not block supermarkets' distribution centers on Wednesday, the lawyer representing action group Farmers Defense Force (FDF) promised in court on Monday in summary proceedings filed by supermarket chains' organization CBL. According to the lawyer, the FDF never planned to block distribution centers and cause supermarkets to have empty shelves the week before Christmas, NOS reports.
The Netherlands needs tens of thousands of hectares more nature reserves to achieve European nature objectives, according to the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL. Take measures to make nature more robust, so that more permits can be granted for construction and other projects, the PBL said in new advice to the government, AD reports.
Farmers with 28 tractors gathered on Dam Square and Rokin in Amsterdam on Friday to protest against the government's nitrogen policy. They brought food with them for brunch and invited Amsterdam residents to come eat with them, specifically, Dutch-made food "with a low environmental impact."
"Farmer and citizen can talk to each other or enjoy a tasty egg or a hamburger sandwich", action group Argactie said on its website. "We want to use this day to find a connection between farmer and citizen." The protest action will officially last from noon until 4:00 p.m.
Farmers in the Netherlands will hold more protests on Wednesday, December 18th. Exactly what form these protest actions will take, is not yet clear and will likely only be announced shortly in advance, NOS reports.
The number of cows, bulls and calves in the Netherlands decreased by 3 percent this year to 3.8 million, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday based on the provisional figures from the Agricultural Census. "That is really extremely beneficial for the nitrogen dossier",Cor Pierik, agricultural economist at Statistics Netherlands, said to RTL Nieuws.
The government can solve the nitrogen emission problem by making public transit a more attractive option with a massive investment, according to NS and ProRail. The rail manager and -company propose that the government invest over 20.6 billion euros in the railways until 2040, for dozens of improvements, AD reports.
The organizations want to shorten the travel time from Leeuwarden and Groningen to the Randstad by making adjustments to the Hanze line, for example. Train journeys from Twente, Nijmegen and Vlissingen can also be up to 30 minutes faster with specific adjustments
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.
Modern cattle stables emit more nitrogen than was assumed in calculation models, Statistics Netherlands found in a study that analyzed manure samples to compare the nitrogen content with the values in an international calculation model. The researchers found a lower than expected amount of nitrogen in the manure, which could mean that the nitrogen was released into the air, Trouw reports.
The Dutch government is currently investigating a list of around 20 unorthodox and unpopular measures for reducing nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These measures include banning car traffic on one Sunday a month, and lowering the speed limit on all highways to 100 kilometers per hour, AD reports based on sources in The Hague.
The government wants to quickly reduce the maximum speed limits on Dutch roads in order to get housing construction up and running again. Lowering the speed limit will reduce the nitrogen emissions caused by road traffic, creating room for nitrogen emissions caused by construction projects, is the idea, AD reports based on sources in The Hague.
A large protest by construction workers on the Malieveld in The Hague has come to an end and protesters have started to leave the city. The police made several arrests during the protest, but will only announce the actual number of arrests at the end of the day. Travelers' association ANWB expects a busy evening rush hour, especially around The Hague, as the protesters and their construction vehicles head home.
The government wants to soon implement a quicker permit process for small- and medium sized construction projects, in which no more than 200 homes are built. This measure is part of a structural plan to get housing construction going again after the nitrogen crisis and a new PFAS limit brought hundreds of projects to a standstill. Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture hopes to get the green light from the Council of State within a few weeks, she said to NOS.
Generating electricity from biomass creates more greenhouse gas emissions than coal and gas, according to a yet-to-be-published study by DNV GL consultancy commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management that newspaper AD has in its possession.
A difficult morning rush hour is expected as the construction sector is heading towards The Hague to protest against the government's nitrogen policy and PFAS standard. Traffic is piling up on various highways throughout the country, causing delays up to 90 minutes.
Strict climate measures will have much greater consequences on the Dutch economy than politicians realize, according to employers' organization VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland. These measures may even trigger an economic crisis, or what they call a "self-organized recession", the organizations said to De Telegraaf.