Saturday 15 August 2020

VVD expected to reluctantly accept 100kph speed limit to help builders

Traffic is a major source of pollution. Photo:

The government will on Friday reveal what emergency measures it plans to introduce to cut nitrogen-based pollution and getting the Dutch building industry moving again.

Last week thousands of builders came to The Hague to protest about a Council of State ruling which put thousands of building projects on hold because they would add to the pollution problems.

Friday’s announcement follows a week of ‘all hands on deck’, as prime minister Mark Rutte called it, with daily meetings about which measures should be taken.

On the table are options such as the particularly contentious lowering of the maximum speed to 100kph on all motorways and the introduction of car-free Sundays. Another measure that may be adopted is adding extra enzymes to cows feed so they produce less ammonia in their manure.

In total, civil servants have drawn up a list of 20 potential measures, the AD said.

Rutte, who wants the problem to be solved before the end of the year, said that no measure should be ‘taboo’, which means that he will have to win over his own, pro-car party on the maximum speed measure.

The Telegraaf quoted anonymous VVD MPs saying the measure would be ‘political suicide’ while one MP said ‘enough of this madness, we won’t be governed by the left.’

If the speed limit is cut, it could mean the construction of 75,000 new homes would get the green light almost immediately, according to calculations by public health institute RIVM.

VVD parliamentary party chairman Klaas Dijkhoff said he would rather not lower the maximum speed limit. However, it is more important to get the building industry moving again and prevent people from losing their jobs, even if it meant ‘agreeing to things that I find very difficult to swallow’, Dijkhoff said.

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