Economy grows and gets cleaner

The Dutch economy has grown 48% since 1990, but this has not been matched by a similar increase in pollution, according to a report presented to the economic affairs minister on Thursday by the national statistics office CBS.

The end of the direct link between growth and pollution is the result of cleaner manufacturing processes and the trend towards a services-oriented economy, the CBS says.
But while households create less air pollution, the ever-rising number of cars mean the emission of greenhouse gases has gone up by 3% in the last 10 years.
The CBS reports a wide range of positive developments in 2006. For example, economic growth was double that in 2005, the number of people with jobs rose to 8.4 million (the highest figure ever) and unemployment fell to 5.5% from 6.5% in the preceding two years.
People’s actual incomes went up by 3.7% last year and consumer spending was up 2.7%, the report says. Inflation, meanwhile, was just 1.1% in 2006, the lowest it’s been since 1989.
Meanwhile in a separate report also published on Thursday, the Dutch transport association (KNV) says motorway traffic jams generated €134m in income from fuel levies and vat for the treasury last year.
The jams created 44 million hours of stationary traffic which used 440 million litres of fuel, the KNV said.

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