Dutch NGOs demand night flight cuts

Environmentalists step up pressure on Schiphol after court refuses more night operations

Dutch environmental groups including Friends of the Earth (FoE) yesterday demanded further restrictions on night flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in a letter to transport minister Tineke Netelenbos.

The NGOs were reacting to a court judgement rejecting a request by Schiphol for more flexible night use of one of the airport's four runways and an end to night time flight restrictions one hour earlier in the morning.

The judgement follows a court action taken by the airport last year to demand more flexible use of the runway at night if, for example, other runways were under repair. It also wanted permission to operate noisier daytime flights from 06.00 rather than 07.00.

Following the ruling, environmental groups have now called on Mr Netelenbos to force the airport to change its operational plan for this year. According to the groups, the plan foresees a clear increase in the amount of night time flights but they claim that last week's ruling by the highest administrative court in the Netherlands has made night flight restrictions inevitable.

Schiphol and environmental groups have long been at odds over noise limits as the airport pushes to exploit its already stretched capacity while the NGOs say the environment is being compromised for the sake of the airoport's growth (ENDS Daily 20 December 1999).

Follow Up:
Dutch transport ministry, tel: +31 70 351 6171; FoE (www.milieudefensie.nl), tel: +31 20550 7333; {Schiphol airport}, tel: +31 20 601 3177.

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