The Netherlands cannot be complacent about the environment: OECD

Electric cars at charging stationThe 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.

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.

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