"On the victory." There was delighted toast from the employees of Milieudefensie. The reason was right that the judge in court gave Anne Knol a suis. In other words: the State must tackle air pollution immediately. The defense file for interim relief was filed by Milieudefensie because the Netherlands did not meet the hard limit for emissions of fine dust and nitrogen dioxide on a number of points, while the deadline for this had already been set for the year 2015.
The judge considered a number of points to be proven, and ruled in favor of Milieudefensie. The champagne corks popped. Anne Knol was as happy as a child and was full of victory. But being in the right is not the same as victory. Of course it is unfortunate that the emission standards still do not meet the target. In that sense it may indeed be concluded that the measures taken were not the right ones. It is best to fight against that.
But in the victory whirl, Milieudefensie, through Anne Knol, launched the first questionable suggestions for tackling air pollution. Note: suggestions. And yes, there was a call again for more environmental zones in the long term. This was supplemented by options such as "expensive parking places at bottlenecks" and the withdrawal of permits for livestock farmers who exceed standards. Admittedly, a call to lower maximum speeds to desirable values is a suggestion that makes sense. But one realistic swallow does not make a summer yet. In addition: where are the concrete ideas?
Suggestions that are of a macro economic and macro demographic nature have not been suggested for years. Not now either. While home-work subsidies, an improved rail infrastructure, a tough approach to coal-fired plants from the Amazon region, affordable parking that is linked to free electric buses, traffic-restricted zones, the exclusion of polluting cruise ships, stricter rules for polluting pleasure craft and nationwide distribution of economic pleasure craft activities are excellent ingredients for a green total package. But ideas of this order have hardly been suggested from the green lobby. Let alone discussed with the party against whom Milieudefensie filed summary proceedings.
Instead, the driver will probably be presented with the bill. Especially the driver of a youngtimer or a classic for daily use will be examined. Practicing a sustainable activity is likely to become an even more expensive activity. Because it became clear earlier, for example old diesels from 2019 are taxed more heavily. That is no longer necessary, because that category has already been substantially reduced, as well as emissions and the share of pollution caused by road traffic. No green lobbyist who talks about it.
Traffic as a starting point is a wrong starting point
Now, Secretary of State Sharon Dijksma is going to work. Also Miss Demissionair takes traffic partly as a starting point. And that will be a wrong starting point if it - together with the agricultural sector - is named Kop van Jut. That is roughly the victory that Milieudefensie reports about. But it's a big defeat. Because those involved have missed opportunities for years to tackle the problem of air quality across society. And now there must be a comprehensive plan within two weeks. That must really be a broad total package with honest, thorough and calculated measures. With a total focus, and not just with the motorist as a guideline. And if those measures finally lead to results, then you can speak of a victory. I fear that it will take a long, very long time. Cheers, Anne Knol.