Some 40 thousand jobs in the construction sector will disappear in the coming two years due to the coronavirus, according to the economic institute for construction EIB. The institute thinks this crisis will hit construction harder than the 2008 economic crisis. EIB expects construction production to shrink by over 15 percent, NOS reports.
The opening of Lelystad Airport, intended to take over holiday flights from crowded Schiphol, has again been delayed, this time due to the coronavirus crisis. The planned opening at the end of this year is no longer feasible, Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday. The aim is now to open the airport in November 2021, she said, NU.nl reports.
The maximum speed limit on all Dutch highways was reduced to 100 kilometers per hour as of Monday, March 16. Until Monday, the maximum speed limit was 120 km/h on some roads. This speed imit applies between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., according to travelers association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat.
Fewer than half of the Dutch public still supports the farmers who have been protesting across the Netherlands in high-profile events for the last five months. The farmers staged an organized demonstration in The Hague again on Wednesday, which ended with nine arrests and dozens of fines issued by police.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the third quarter of this year 13,100 housing construction permits were issued, 24 percent less than in the same period last year, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released. This is the third consecutive quarter in which fewer permits were issued than a year earlier.
Up to and including September, a total of 40 thousand construction permits were issued to build new homes. For comparison, throughout all of 2018 a total of 70 thousand housing construction permits were issued.
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.
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.
Farmers are planning to move their protest against the government's nitrogen policy from The Hague to Amsterdam. But that doesn't mean the Malieveld in The Hague will be left empty. Construction workers are planning to protest there next week Wednesday.
Around two thousand farmers spent the night in The Hague after a major protest on Wednesday, according to estimates from Farmers Defense Force (FDF), the organizer behind the protest. They slept in caravans, tents or their tractors and ended the overnight protest with a breakfast. Around 300 Hague residents, farmers and journalists attended the breakfast, NOS reports.