Reflections on environmental zones are becoming ever greater

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The environmental zones in our country - and in particular in Utrecht and Rotterdam - keep the minds busy. Regularly the messages about the abuses and the lack of effect trickle in. The RIVM recently published a report that revealed the actual impact of the Utrecht environmental zone on air quality. In Rotterdam too, things have come to light recently, which have led to question marks and discussion.

As is often stated on these pages: environmental zones do not work. The RIVM report on the influence of the environmental zone on air quality spoke volumes. Even Green Left Councilor Lot van Hooijdonk seemed to take the towel off the hook. She did not throw it in yet, but stated that maintaining and regulating environmental zones in our country should now also become a national responsibility. A passage that has already been included in the Coalition Agreement. It also became clear that more than 90% of the pollutants originated outside the municipal boundaries of Utrecht.

Excessen in Rotterdam

The idiocy of the environmental zone also appeared in Rotterdam. And above all: the randomness. First there was dismay at the fact that a campaign team from the municipality of Rotterdam entered the environmental zone in the port city, with a car that is normally fined when entering the forbidden area. In this case, those responsible opted for a Volkswagen Transporter T3 with a diesel engine in the lower area to exceed the limits of the environmental zone. Exemption or not: it is crazy that those in charge give the self-proclaimed bad example. It was used dieselend, to the dismay of various stakeholders who sold their older vehicle due to the rules or were repeatedly fined.

Court: fine unlawful

There was also the story of Joris Rockx. He entered his Renault 4 F6 from the 1983 deliberate environmental zone. Wrong thing, because the Rotterdammer could greet a fine of € 99. The flash photo was proof of the fact that the Renault was driving on prohibited terrain. But the owner decided to thoroughly study the policy rules. The flash photo did not meet the requirements, and Joris did not have to pay his fine.

Flash photo more important than actual violation

This story also has absurdities. When a flash photo does not meet the requirements, you have free rein with retrospective effect. And there is the pinch. The lack of a sign on the photo is a guideline for enforcement, and not the fact that someone consciously enters the environmental zone with a so-called polluting - and therefore prohibited - car. The municipal policy in Rotterdam therefore leaves room for ancillary matters. And legal proceedings, which are expensive and will continue, because Lady Justice has since appealed against the rejected fine. This interplay of forces is a result of the knowingly and sustained maintenance of a non-functioning measure, which is completely absorbed in marine diesel and industrial smoke.

Municipal elections show differences

The municipal elections are coming soon. The question is what the local political landscape will look like after March 2018. There is a good chance that everything in Utrecht will remain as it was, since the polls say that Green Left is the largest party in the Dom City. But the chance that the necessary will change in Rotterdam within the political landscape is just as likely. It is hard to imagine that D'66 offers broad support in the port city. For environmental policy it means that the contradictions in both cities continue to lead to different measures. And that is precisely what a good national policy must prevent.

Implement the Passage in the Coalition Agreement

It is time for national politics to implement the passage in the Coalition Agreement. Whether retrospectively appreciating the motion of Barbara Visser. She argued in favor of the abolition of environmental zones and gained a majority majority. Contradictory enough, local politicians have since served their own parish more and more in various cities and have completely closed their eyes to the usefulness of national policies. They sing their own environmental song. As a result, the uncomprehending citizen is still not allowed to greet uniform plans. And excesses, such as those that have recently taken place in Rotterdam. Excesses too, which again show that environmental zones are no longer tenable. And must be replaced by traffic-calmed areas, which must be made possible by improved infrastructure.

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