The Dutch government is set to implement measures for reducing the noise of aircraft movements at Schiphol airport, as the authorities are striving to reach the balance between the importance of an international airport and the quality of the living environment.
According to a press release by the official website of the Dutch government, the cabinet has submitted the plan to the European Commission, with the latter expected to issue an opinion on it.
“Aviation brings a lot of great things to the Netherlands, provided that attention is also paid to the negative effects for the people living around the airport. Today, we present the measures that can be introduced in 2024 to reduce noise pollution, as announced last year,” the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Mark Harbers, said.
The Anticipatory Enforcement defines the act of noise standards around Schiphol not being enforced if exceedances were the result of using runways that cause the least noise to local residents. Anticipating enforcement has been effective since 2015, and it is aimed at reducing noise for people, but since the rules were not established, noise standards and the legal position are not properly regulated nor enforced.
Therefore, local residents cannot rely on enforcement, so the cabinet decided to end this situation and resume enforcement last year.
As a result, a ministerial regulation will be introduced, and there will be room for a maximum of 460,000 aircraft movements on an annual basis.
This measure can be fully implemented once the Netherlands, as a European country, goes through the so-called balanced approach procedure. This is the first country to go through this procedure to this extent, while stakeholders are able to comment on proposed plans.
The final package of measures includes using devices that are quiet, especially between 23:00 and 07:00, limiting the use of runways, reducing the number of flights to 28,700 flight movements and limiting the number of flight movements to 452,600.
The number of flights operated during the night will drop from 32,000 while the number of flights per year will decrease from 500,000.
ACI Europe, the association of airport operators, condemned the move and raised matters on how the measure will be implemented next year.
“Moreover, while the decision to temporarily reduce capacity as of Summer 2024 will provide much-needed legal certainty, it has been taken without conducting the Balanced Approach process,” the Director General of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, said in a statement.
He also noted that these decisions are being made for electoral purposes as the caretaker Dutch government is heading towards national elections. He called on the EU Commission to reinforce the respect of the new Balance Approach principles within the states, as the EU law points out.