The Dutch political agenda

Air quality is back on the political agenda in the Netherlands. After years of complete neglect it is becoming an issue in the newspapers and in Parliament.

It all started with MilieuDefensie (Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands) who went to court to demand that European limit values to be respected and urged Government to take immediate action. They won this court case and the Minister immediately announced a plan of action. In a second court case they demanded the government adhere to the more stringent World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines, as even below the EU limit values health damage is not avoided. MilieuDefensie lost this case, not because it is not true, but because the judge said that government is already doing a lot and not bound by non-legislative norms of the WHO. But cities like Amsterdam mention WHO air quality guidelines as ‘better protection’ for their citizens health.

On top of all this, at the end of January 2018 the National Health Advisory Board, an important government advisory body, called for more stringent AQ limit values (link in Dutch) as ‘EU limit values are clearly not protecting enough against serious health damage.’  To be continued….!

Hans Bolscher