Amsterdam to register former objection to Schiphol’s licence

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Amsterdam city council is to register a formal objection to the government’s decision to give an environmental permit to Schiphol airport which regulates its nitrogen emissions.

Nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal said last month she was giving Schiphol the permit which will make it possible for the airport to facilitate 500,000 take-offs and landings again. 

Schiphol had, the minister said, taken enough measures to offset nitrogen emissions and the licence could, therefore, be granted. Schiphol had not had such a licence for years but the authorities have turned a blind eye to the situation, meaning the airport had been technically operating illegally.

In January, however, the airport authority said it had bought enough pollution rights from nearby farmers to allow it to qualify for a licence. Sources suggest buying the rights had cost as much as €25 million.

A month later, MPs voted in favour of a motion calling on the government not to give the airport a licence as long as it “contributed fairly” to solving the nitrogen pollution problem. Nevertheless, the government went ahead in September.

Anke Bakker, a councillor for the pro-animal PvdD, described this process as ‘highly dubious’ and called on the council to take action. Amsterdam is a shareholder in the airport. 

Now a majority of councillors have backed the move, including those from all three coalition parties, finance minister Hester van Buren will submit a formal objection.

“We have to reduce the number of flights,” she told the Parool. “The executive board has no objections to accepting this motion.”

Protests about the airport’s environmental licence must be submitted by November 7. 

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation