Ministry 'failed in Schiphol insulation project'

15th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Transport Ministry has failed to keep a grip on the noise insulation project around Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and the cost of the second phase could double to almost EUR 400 million, the auditor's office warned on Wednesday.

15 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Transport Ministry has failed to keep a grip on the noise insulation project around Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and the cost of the second phase could double to almost EUR 400 million, the auditor's office warned on Wednesday.

The auditor said the ministry failed to correctly estimate the costs of the project and more houses have been insulated against noise pollution than initially intended. Some contracts were incorrectly awarded, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

Changes to noise pollution zones, the addition of heat insulation and allowing partial insulation led to higher costs. The delays resulted in damages being paid to contractors who could not immediately start work and new contracts also became more expensive.

Between 1995 and 2005, some 14,000 homes were to be insulated against noise pollution. But just half of these homes have been insulated, news agency ANP reported.

When the Department of Waterways and Public Works took over the project from Schiphol in 2000, just 210 of the planned 4,114 homes had been insulated. The Transport Ministry had at that time little insight as to how much the delays would cost.

The auditor's office was also critical of the project planning. The ministry did not stick to agreements over the maximum cost per house. It said the final costs of the project should be thoroughly inspected.

Schiphol did not escape criticism either, but the auditor said the Transport Ministry and residents who were not co-operative were most at fault. Schiphol had  demanded an inquiry into what costs could be passed on to the aviation sector, but the auditor's office said this was not one its tasks. 

Transport State Secretary Melanie van Schultz has backed most of the auditor's findings and will take them into account for the final stage of the project. But she also pointed out that a better control of finances and an improved project management have been implemented since she took office.

Van Schultz has also allocated EUR 42 million to next year's budget to cover costs that cannot be passed on to the aviation sector. There is still a gap of EUR 68 million.

The first phase of the insulation project was conducted from 1983 to 1995 and cost EUR 128 million, news agency Novum reported. Some 4,320 homes were insulated in that period.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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