MP wants to scrap nature protection rules

18th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

EU rules protecting the natural environment are damaging the Dutch economy, according to the ruling VVD party. 

MP Helma Lodders of the free-market liberal VVD party said on Wednesday that tourists, businessmen, farmers and local authorities told her they are fed up with the restrictive rules and unsettlingly long procedures connected to the EU directives.

The directives, known collectively as the Natura2000 rules, affect 162 areas of natural beauty in the Netherlands. Regional authorities are reluctant to issue permits for activities there which could be harmful according to Natura2000.

Brussels Ms Lodders argued that the rules are undermining the social acceptance of environmental protection, which she said was 'very regrettable'. In a Lower House debate she asked Deputy Economy Minister Henk Bleker to set more realistic aims, taking account of the importance of economic activity inside the Natura2000 areas. She wants the Deputy Minister to raise the issue at EU level.

Changing European rules to better accommodate Dutch interests is an avowed policy of the current two-party rightwing coalition and the pro-government Freedom Party. But on several occasions, realities in Brussels proved stronger than the campaign promises of the governing parties, and Dutch ministers returned home without having achieved their hoped-for reforms of EU arrangements.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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