Mounting criticism of 130 km speed limit

14th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Criticism is mounting of Transport Minister Melanie van Schultz van Haegen’s plans to increase the speed limit on Dutch motorways. Eighty percent of municipalities want to be able to take action if air pollution gets too bad, reports Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

The cities of Rotterdam and Utrecht have asked the minister not to increase speeds near their suburbs.

Rotterdam city council says increasing the speed from 80 to 100 kilometres per hour on the A13 near Overschie will damage the health of local residents because air quality will be poorer. It was because of the demonstrable poorer health of local residents in the area that speeds were lowered to 80 kph in 2002.  

Utrecht city council wants the minister to review her plan to increase speed limits on the A12 motorway. The municipality fears variable speed limits of up to 130 kph on the A12 and an increase from 80 to 100 kph between the suburbs of Oudenrijn and Lunetten will affect health and increase noise pollution.

Freesheet reports that the minister has simply ignored various reports on road safety and health in order to present her plans to increase maximum road speeds on 60 percent of Dutch motorways. The paper, which has obtained 129 reports under freedom of information legislation, quotes a civil servant's email to a colleague: "The rough estimates we gave about the increase in road deaths and injuries, and the costs of tackling design elements, have been left out of this document. I don't know why."

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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