Technology Netherlands cuts national speed limit to 100 kph in bid to lower emissions
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As the old saying goes, speed kills. But driving quickly isn't just a danger to human health, it's also impacting the environment. In a bid to curb emissions, the Netherlands is set to cap its national speed limit at just 100 kph, a mere 62 miles an hour.
Introduced Wednesday by Prime Minister Mark Rutte,this move is part of an emergency plan aimed at reducing harmful nitrogen pollution. Relatively small and densely populated, the Netherlands has exceeded European Union limits on this type of contamination for years -- it's running about four times higher than average for the region. A recent court order halted thousands of construction projects in order to stem rising pollution, according to Reuters; the speed limit reduction is an effort to reduce other sources of nitrogen oxide and get those projects moving again.
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It's estimated about 61% of the country's nitrogen pollution comes from agricultural activity. Fertilizer and sewage are major contributors, but so are animals. The government is also working to limit the amount of protein found in livestock feed to curb the ammonia levels of animal urine.
Aside from fertile fields and husky heifers, similar pollution also comes from trucks and heavy equipment. Internal combustion-powered vehicles can emit nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, hence the national speed-limit reduction, a move that could prove unpopular with motorists, even in such a small country.
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It will be interesting to see if this move to limit highway speeds will spread to other EU countries, notably Germany, where certain portions of the famed Autobahn are unrestricted. A green movement has been present there for years, but it has yet to succeed at reining in lead-footed drivers.
The push to limit nitrogen emissions is urgent: Some 18,000 construction projects have been halted, a move that impacts highways, airports, wind farms and housing. By 2021, this could put as many as 40,000 jobs at risk and reduce overall output in the sector by as much as 8%.
"It's a rotten step to take, nobody likes it, but this serves a greater interest," Rutte said. More measures to curb pollution are likely to be revealed in future as the Netherlands pushes to comply with EU requirements.
Climate protection: Netherlands decide on speed 100 on highways - from 6 to 19 clock
With the regulation, the German neighboring country wants to reduce pollutant emissions. At night on some sections of the motorway, on the other hand, it is even faster.
On the Dutch highways to reduce pollutant emissions, the maximum speed during the day to 100 km. The Cabinet had agreed on Tuesday as part of an action plan on climate change, reported the Dutch news agency ANP and other media, citing government circles.
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Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke of a "significant move" and announced the climate package to present this Wednesday to the public, without, however, already giving details.
Tempo 100 is said to apply on all highways. Where so far tempo 130 was, this maximum speed will be allowed in future only between 19 clock and 6 clock. You can not drive faster than 100 km / h on many motorway sections in the country.
The main objective of the package of measures of the coalition government of Liberals and Christian Democrats and the left-liberal D66 and the religious-conservative Christian Union is to reduce the emission of nitrogen and nitrogen oxides.
The government parties had been discussing options for combating the so-called nitrogen crisis in the Netherlands for months. They had come under pressure when the highest court, the Raad van State in The Hague, in May had stopped approval procedures for major construction projects on the grounds that the nitrogen emissions of the country should not increase further in the interests of air purity. Even other apartments should only be built if there is a reduction in emissions elsewhere.
The Association of Dutch Car Dealers (Bovag) criticized the speed limit. The proportion of traffic on the highways on pollutant emissions is actually low, said a spokesman. Better would be scrapping premiums for particularly polluting old cars.
The environmental organization Milieudefensie, on the other hand, spoke of good news for nature and health. "These measures make sure that less nitric oxide is inhaled," said a spokesman.
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