Schiphol faces 'illegal' air disaster risk
14 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The chance that an air disaster with a large number of causalities could occur at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is double what it was 15 years ago, breaching a Dutch law that allows the threat to be no greater than the level in 1990.
14 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — The chance that an air disaster with a large number of causalities could occur at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is double what it was 15 years ago, breaching a Dutch law that allows the threat to be no greater than the level in 1990.
The Government Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and the National Air and Space Travel (NLR) attributed the greater risk to the larger number of offices and business premises in the suburbs around the airport — Hoofddorp, Amstelveen, Aalsmeer and Zwanenburg areas.
The report — which Environment State Secretary Pieter van Geel will soon present to the Dutch Parliament — also said the number of flights have increased, heightening the chance of a major disaster. Nevertheless, the risk that a plane might crash has remained the same, newspaper Het Parool reported on Friday.
The Aviation Law, which was passed in 2001, states that the total risk at the end of this year must not be higher than the 1990 level. Hague Court confirmed the law in a ruling 12 months ago in a case brought forward by the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth (Vereniging Milieudefensie.)
But Van Geel previously indicated to MPs in 2003 that the parliament had consciously set "an unrealistic safety standard", in which all homes built since 1990 in the area around Schiphol would need to be demolished immediately. He is thus moving to change the definition of the total threat.
An Israeli El Al cargo plane crashed into an apartment block in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam in 1992, killing 43 people. The plane had depleted uranium on board as ballast in the wings and there were suggestions after the crash that some of the uranium might have been burned, releasing it into the atmosphere.
But an investigation concluded in December that emergency personnel and members of the public involved in the crash were not exposed to radioactivity or other dangerous materials.
Victims are still demanding EUR 10 million in compensation from El Al, Amsterdam Council and the Dutch State.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news