Transport minister wants quicker road building
Transport Minister wants to adopt the recommendations to speed up road building projects.22 April 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings is to adopt the recommendations made by the Elverding Commission to speed up road building projects.
The commission was set up by the transport minister to investigate systematic delays in road building.
Eurlings wants to introduce faster procedures to build new rush-hour lanes and to widen roads. There are dozens of projects waiting for the go-ahead.
The Elverding Commission set up by the minister, released its report on Monday and said roads could be built twice as fast as they are at the moment.
The commission recommends using emergency procedures to introduce legislation if necessary.
An average road-building project takes 11 years to complete.
Procedures are slowed down by public opposition, lobby groups and environmental organisations. The commission says it would be better to involve these groups in the planning stages of a project to prevent endless procedures later on, and recommends that there should be fewer possibilities for provinces and municipalities to appeal against road building projects.
It also proposes tests to ensure new roads meet environmental standards.
The recommendations have not been welcomed wholeheartedly in all quarters. Transport and construction trade organisations are pleased with the report.
The Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB (the Dutch automobile association) is cautiously positive about the proposals for participation at an earlier stage, but is not optimistic that procedures will genuinely be speeded up.
Friends of the Earth Netherlands says it is "not against" the proposals, but the environmental group Nature and Environment says they are "bad for the environment, nature and residents" and offer no solutions but only symbolic gestures.
Opposition parties GreenLeft, the Socialist Party and the conservative VVD are all critical of the plans. The VVD would like to see a simplification of air quality standards and fewer possibilities for environmental organisations to object to road construction projects.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]