12 pigs' heads dumped next to Dutch refugee centre site

12 pigs’ heads dumped next to Dutch refugee centre site

12 pigs heads have been dumped at a field near Enschede earmarked as a new asylum seekers' reception centre. The pigs heads, which appear to have come from an abattoir, were placed on a gate to the field and scattered around the entrance. Photos of the pigs heads, taken when it was dark, were published on a Twitter feed early on Wednesday morning headlined 'welcome to the hell that is Eschmarkerveld'. [banner] A spokesman for the city council told RTL news the same text has also been used by local protest group AZC Alert Enschede. It is campaigning against plans to locate temporary accommodation for 600 asylum seekers in the field. A police spokesman said the illegal dumping is considered an 'environmental crime' and an investigation has been started. 'There is little doubt that the pigs heads are connected with the arrival of the refugees,' a spokesman for the city council said.  More >

OECD warns NL on green challenges

The Netherlands cannot be complacent about the environment: OECD The Netherlands has a very fossil fuel-intensive energy mix and traffic congestion and intensive farming leave little room for complacency in meeting environmental challenges, according to a new OECD report. The OECD’s review of the Netherlands praises efforts to reduce dependency on carbon, a drop in air pollution and extensive use of environmental taxes as well as its high rates of recycling. However, fossil fuels still make up more than 90% of the country’s energy supply and renewables still only accounted for 4.2% of energy supply in 2013, the Paris based organisation said. This is the third lowest figure in the OECD. [banner] Intensive farming, is another area that has long posed a serious challenge to improving the quality of ecosystems and water, the organisation said. ‘Around a third of the country’s territory is used for agricultural purposes, and the quantity of nitrogen fertiliser and pesticides used per square kilometre of farmland is well above the OECD average.’ The OECD says that as well as taking steps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the Netherlands should also look again at the introduction of road pricing as a way to reduce the impact of motoring on the environment and congestion. Plans to introduce a kilometre tax in the Netherlands collapsed in 2010 when the cabinet fell.  More >

Plug pulled on coal-fired power station

The Netherlands cannot be complacent about the environment: OECD A Dutch coal-fired power station has been closed down permanently following a string of accidents, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday. The Borssele power plant was due to shut at the end of the year along with four other coal-fired power stations which no longer meet environmental standards. However, an accident last week in which a 52-year-old man died has triggered an earlier closure, the Volkskrant says. [banner] There have been three serious accidents at the Borssele plant in the past five months and this has had such an impact on the staff that director Carlo Wolters decided to bring forward the closure, the paper says. 'I do not think it sensible to continue production until the end of the year,' Wolters is quoted as saying by local newspaper PZC. Earlier this week a group of 64 professors wrote an open letter urging the government to close all the country’s coal-fired power stations by 2020. Although a narrow majority of MPs back total closure, prime minister Mark Rutte has said he is opposed because the Netherlands would have to import energy from more polluting sources. Borssele in Zeeland is also home to the Netherlands only nuclear power plant.  More >

Tax office digitalisation drive under fire

The Netherlands cannot be complacent about the environment: OECD The national ombudsman is starting a major inquiry into the tax office's plans to stop communicating with people by traditional mail. Junior finance minister Eric Wiebes announced at the beginning of this month that the tax office's blue envelopes are to disappear for all communications apart from 'exceptional cases'. A flood of complaints to the ombudsman have prompted the investigation. In particular, groups representing the elderly are worried about having to fill in tax returns and apply for housing and healthcare subsidies online. [banner] A spokesman for the ombudsman's office said the inquiry would look at the preparations being made for the changeover in the light of problems with other government and tax office IT projects. In addition, there is a sense of compulsion about the plans,' the spokesman said. 'But there should be attention for people who do not want to be forced to participate in the digitalisation trend for whatever reason, as well as for the exceptional cases.'  More >

Car computers pose a privacy risk

Car computers pose a privacy risk, motoring body warns Car manufacturers are monitoring driver behaviour and personal information through software installed in their vehicles, Dutch motoring organisation ANWB said on Wednesday. The organisation says information about where cars have parked and the routes they have travelled is being stored on the vehicles' hard drives, as well as phone numbers, email addresses and photographs taken by mobile phone. For example, the on-board computer registers driving style and how often the seat belts are tightened due to sudden breaking. This could lead to a loss of warranty or even police fines for traffic offences. [banner] 'We have no idea what the manufacturers are doing with this information,' a spokesman told RTL news. The computer connection also increases car owners' dependency on licenced dealers and makes them vulnerable to hacking and theft, the organisation says. The ANWB is joining forces with other European motoring organisations to try to boost privacy protection for motorists.  More >