Green group to start fast-track clean air procedure against Dutch state

Environmental organisation Milieudefensie wants to initiate fast-track summary proceedings against the state in an effort to force the goverment to take action to ensure cleaner air, NOS reports.

The organisation had subpoenaed the state a year ago but so far no date for the trial has been set.

‘Thousands of people die each year because of air pollution and many more fall ill because of it,’ Milieudefensie spokesperson Anne Knol told NOS. ‘There are dozens of places in the Netherlands where emissions of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulates exceed the European norm.’

The trial date, which according to Milieudefensie lawyer Phon van den Biesen should have been set a long time ago, may now be set for 2018, a move the court in The Hague said is ‘not unusual’. ‘The schedulers need time to find a suitable date when judges are available and both parties can be present,’ NOS quotes a court spokesperson as saying.


The fast track case against the state will be financed by Milieudefensie itself and by crowdfunding. ‘We want to show the case has broad support,’ a spokesperson told the NOS. ‘When we get to €9,500 we will start the case. We don’t think it’ll be a problem. For our last case we collected €25,000.’

In a reaction, the ministry for the environment said that the air quality in the Netherlands has improved over the last few years but according to Milieudefensie not enough is being done.

Among its proposals is the phasing out of older cars, fiscal measures to promote the use of electric cars and a cap on agricultural emissions’. It also wants better public transport and more support for the use of bikes and electric car pooling.

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