Tuesday 10 December 2019

‘Cut maximum speed limit to 100kph everywhere’: experts tell RTL

Traffic is a major source of pollution. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Climate experts believe that the government should cut the maximum speed limit to 100kph across the country.

Following the publication of a report earlier this week saying The Netherlands needs to take ‘drastic measures’ to cut its nitrogen oxide emissions, experts have told RTL broadcaster that slashing the speed limit countrywide would be the most effective initial measure.

Jan Willem Erisman, director of the Louis Bolk Institute, reportedly said: ‘It is the only measure that you could implement tomorrow and immediately see an effect. This would create the space, for instance, to build new homes [put on hold due to concerns about emissions].’

The commission, chaired by former minister Johan Remkes, had recommended a lower maximum speed near vulnerable natural areas, but experts said a reduction only made sense if imposed everywhere.

‘Nitrogen travels over great distances, so it makes far more sense to introduce this across the country,’ Wim de Vries, a soil and air pollution expert from Wageningen University, reportedly told RTL.

A programme to reduce harmful nitrogen-based emissions, Programma Aanpak Stikstof, was launched in 2015 to reduce gases including ammonia and nitrous oxide in natural reserves such as the Veluwe. However, the Council of State has ruled the strategy is not effective enough against damaging gas.

Earlier this month the government cut the speed limit to 120kph on a number of motorways because of concerns about this pollution, and it has also scrapped an estimated 18,000 infrastructure projects after the Council of State ruling.

Maximum speed limits on roads began to increase to 130kph in 2011, despite concerns raised by environmental organisations about pollution and health impacts.

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