What is the influence of passenger car traffic on air quality in the Netherlands? The KNAC has been asking this question since the introduction of the first environmental zones in 2007 and the reduction of the maximum speed to 100 km/h in 2020. KNAC director Peter Staal lacks a good numerical substantiation that justifies all anti-car measures.
Air quality in the Netherlands has improved enormously in recent years, says Peter Staal. “Industries produce more cleanly and the greening of the vehicle fleet is also helping. But other measures, mainly aimed at reducing car use, are debatable to say the least. There is no evidence whatsoever that they actually provide significantly better air quality. An example? Professor Martien Visser showed that lowering the speed limit to 100 km/h in the past year has led to an improvement in air quality by approximately 0,1%. Then you can safely speak of symbolic politics.”
Effects of the environmental zone minimal according to the Council of State
“The introduction of environmental zones is another measure against which the KNAC has been fighting for years. First of all, because research has shown that this measure does not work. Environmental zones also cost a lot of money, often millions, while a decrease in pollution is difficult to measure. Municipalities often calculate with incorrect figures in order to demonstrate the positive effects of an environmental zone. In a case that we brought against the municipality of Utrecht, the judge considered our objection to the environmental zone to be well-founded and the effects of the environmental zone to be marginal. Nevertheless, the environmental zone was allowed to remain, because it was part of a larger package of measures according to the Council of State.
“Research has shown that the introducing environmental zones does not work.”
Working together towards zero-emission mobility
“Please note, we would like to actively participate in achieving the EU's climate goals. We, too, are striving for less nitrogen and CO2 emissions and 'zero-emission mobility' by 2035. However, we are concerned about the way in which cars, especially older cars, are always seen and treated as the major problem . While cars really have a marginal impact on air fill. Would you like another comparison with which I would like to substantiate my story? In Amsterdam you are no longer allowed to enter the city with a Golf 1 from 1975, but you can enter the city with a cruise ship that pollutes as much as 80.000 cars! Again: they are really symbolic measures.”
Fairer treatment of car owners
“Since its foundation in 1898, the KNAC has stood up for the interests of motorists. Many of our members drive classic cars and they are indeed more polluting per kilometer than modern cars. On the other hand, they spend much less time on the road and therefore hardly contribute to the air pollution caused by cars. A pollution that is negligible anyway. According to the RIVM, fireplaces and BBQs emit much more particulate matter and carbon monoxide and are therefore much more polluting than those beautiful pieces of heritage, which may no longer be welcome anywhere. This concerns us and that is why we will continue to work for a fairer treatment of car owners and users.”
More information via www.knac.nl/importance/environmentalzones/