Dutch Drive to Promote Green Technologies

Scheme to boost environmentally-friendly technologies in industry to be extended

The Dutch Government is to broaden an innovative national programme which supports the use of more environmentally-friendly technologies in industry. It hopes the scheme will attract more than Dfl1 billion (Ecu 461 million) of private investment in green technologies in 1997.

The scheme encourages both development and purchasing of greener technologies. Since 1991, the environment and finance ministries have jointly published a list, known as VAMIL, of environmentally-friendly products and processes whose credentials have been verified by officials. Firms whose technologies are accepted onto the list also win tax breaks towards the cost of development.

This year a new offshoot of VAMIL has been created specifically to promote energy-efficient technologies. Firms whose technologies qualify for both lists gain additional tax concessions.

In order to be listed on VAMIL or the new energy-efficient list, products or processes must meet three key criteria, a spokeswoman for the Dutch environment ministry told ENDS. They must be new, offer significant improvements in environmental efficiency and they must be appropriate for use by a large number of businesses, not just niche applications.

Each year government officials check the credentials of technologies on the list and weed out those that are no longer considered to be new. An indicator of the success of the scheme is that the first VAMIL list published in 1991 contained just over 100 technologies while the 1996 list stood at nearly 500. Investment in VAMIL technologies is growing by some DFl100 million each year, reaching DFl850 million from around 7000 businesses in 1996.

Technologies on the 1997 VAMIL list range from means of treating air emissions and aqueous discharges to ovens, smelters and refrigerators to efficient potato seed distributors.

Follow Up:
Dutch environment ministry, fax: +31 70 339 1352. References: VAMIL stands for Regeling vervroegde afschrijving milieu-investeringen.

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