MPs want a stop to billion euro biomass power station subsidies

MPs want a stop to billion euro biomass power station subsidies

A majority of MPs have called on the government to immediately stop paying billions of euros to energy companies to encourage them to use more environmentally-friendly biomass. They want economic affairs minister Henk Kamp to stop accepting any more requests for subsidies under rules to stimulate greener energy production. Earlier this week, the Financieele Dagblad said coal-fired electricity plants in the Netherlands are set to receive an estimated €2bn to €2.5bn in state subsidies to stimulate the use of biomass. MPs say it is unclear what the money is being spent on and point to the rising cost of biomass, compared with the drop in the cost of solar and wind energy. The origin of biomass, mainly from woods in Europe and North America, is also controversial. 'Trees are being chopped down in Canada, shipped by boat to the Netherlands, turned into wood chips and burned in power stations. This subsidy must stop,' said Labour MP Jan Vos. The motion to end subsidies was not supported by the ruling VVD or the Christian Democrats. The CDA says it is concerned that targets for reducing CO2 emissions will not be met without the use of biomass to replace coal, a point which minister Kamp reiterated later to news agency ANP.  More >

No fine for Pegida leader over swastika

New listed company governance code will include pay gap information The leader of the Dutch branch of the anti-Islamic movement Pegida should not be fined for displaying a swastika at a demonstration in Amsterdam earlier this year, a court said on Thursday. Officials had said ahead of the rally that nazi symbols were banned but Edwin Wagensveld pressed ahead with displaying a banner showing a swastika and an IS flag being thrown into a waste bin. The judge said that the blanket ban on the swastika hit the heart of the demonstration and that everyone could see the symbol was being thrown away. 'Throwing away a symbol of national socialism is clearly part of what Pegida wanted to say,' the judge said. The public prosecution department had offered to settle out of court with a €250 fine but Wagensveld rejected the deal. Pegida, whose name is a German acronym for ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West’ was formed in Dresden in 2014, and has since expanded to other European countries.  More >

'Animal friendly meat' most hated term

‘Animal friendly meat’ most hated phrase this year: poll The most hated Dutch expression of 2016 is ‘diervriendelijk vlees’ or animal friendly meat, according to a poll conducted by the Institute for the Dutch Language. Some 22,000 people from both the Netherlands and Belgium voted in the annual ‘Down with that word!’ poll. Of them, 32% opted for 'diervriendelijk vlees' closely followed by a 30% vote for the ungrammatical ‘hun hebben’ Meat can never be animal friendly, voters pointed out. It can at the most be ‘animal friendlier’, a term launched by the Dutch association for the protection of animals in an effort to improve life for animals used for food.  The term made the top 10 in earlier polls, as did ‘me’ (as in 'me moeder' instead of ‘mijn moeder’), ‘kids’ and ‘oudjes’ (oldies). ‘Groentjes’, apparently a term used for vegetables in Flanders, came in fourth place. 6% of the Belgian voters found the diminutive use of the word extremely annoying.   More >

Dutch tv chef Joop Braakhekke dies

Dutch tv chef and restaurateur Joop Braakhekke dies Dutch television chef and restaurant owner Joop Braakhekke has died of cancer at the age of 75. Braakhekke is best known for his role in the television cookery show Kookgek in the 1990s and as owner from Amsterdam restaurant Le Garage. He once described himself as a restaurateur with chef tendencies. 'I was made to make tv,' he told HP De Tijd magazine in 2014. Braakhekke was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 which later spread to his liver and lungs.   More >

Publish pay gap, listed companies told

New listed company governance code will include pay gap information Amendments to the current Dutch corporate governance code for listed companies include a clause requiring firms to publish the size of the pay gap between senior staff and shop floor workers. By publishing the size of the pay gap, investors and other interested parties will be able to flag up the issue if they feel the gulf is becoming too wide, the Volkskrant said on Thursday. Research by the Volkskrant earlier this year showed senior executives at some Dutch companies earn more than 100 times as much as their average employees. The revised code says companies would be free to compare their position to other firms to show the pay gap is not unreasonable. The new corporate governance code also states that supervisory board members may not be paid in shares and they are limited to eight years in the job. Two extensions of two years will be permissible if a proper explanation is given in the annual report.   More >