What can we expect in the debate about Lelystad Airport?

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That is what the VVD, D66, SP, GroenLinks and Party for the Animals say on the eve of a general meeting of the Lower House with Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. The Chamber will talk for five hours this afternoon about Lelystad Airport, Schiphol and aviation.

Draft decision

Last week, via the NOS, it leaked that the European Commission agreed in its draft decision to the so-called traffic distribution scheme (VVR). The minister wants to use this to distribute air traffic between Schiphol and Lelystad Airport. The scheme encourages airlines to give up holiday flights at Schiphol to make way for transfer flights there. Those who go to Lelystad on their own will get priority. The minister wants to create room for growth at Schiphol in this way.

Organic growth

With the scheme, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen initially wanted to exclude companies from coming to Lelystad that are not yet flying at Schiphol. That is not allowed by Brussels, because this would discriminate against companies. In a modified version, the minister now wants to leave room for newcomers. Whether the European Commission actually approves the scheme will only become apparent at the end of September.

House-wide motion
With the admission of newcomers, Van Nieuwenhuizen goes directly against the wishes of the Chamber. A room-wide motion was adopted in December by SP, GroenLinks, SGP and PvdA. In it the minister is instructed not to let Lelystad Airport grow independently. "My adopted motion is clear: no autonomous growth," says SP Member of Parliament Çem Lacin. "It is up to the Chamber to remind the minister of this. This traffic distribution scheme (VVR) definitely does not bring the opening of Lelystad Airport any closer".

Remco Dijkstra (VVD) says: "As far as we are concerned, Lelystad Airport only has the right to exist as an overflow airport, as far as we are concerned, that does not change."

Suzanne Kröger (GroenLinks) is of the same opinion: "The minister is empty-handed. Brussels seems to want to give green light to the VVR, which is at odds with what the House has asked for". Lammert van Raan (Party for the Animals) states: "The draft decision of Brussels means - even in the words of the minister - nothing at all. After all, it is a concept and there is still appeal against it. The VVR is clearly autonomous growth and cannot prevent it. That is contrary to the wishes of the Chamber ".

Climate agreement
The opposition parties want to ask the minister this afternoon how they intend to reconcile the intended opening of Lelystad Airport with the Cabinet's Climate Agreement. On the contrary, it is necessary to take measures to achieve the climate goals agreed in Paris four years ago. Recently the problem with nitrogen emissions has been added. "It would not be possible to explain that housing cannot go ahead because a new airport has to be opened for additional holiday flights," said GroenLinks MP Kröger.

Important in the debate will be how the government parties behave. ChristenUnie and D66 have been critical so far and have set strict conditions for the opening of Lelystad Airport. In addition to the approval of Brussels for the traffic distribution scheme, this also concerned environmental investigations and the inconvenience of the low flight paths.

Because Jan Paternotte (D66) also says that Lelystad Airport only has the right to exist as an overflow airport: "As far as we are concerned, this does not change anything". The party emphasizes that there is room for very limited aviation growth, "provided it is cleaner and quieter".

The VVD insists on rapid opening of the airport. "The coalition agreement is leading, a motion is more of a request. Fortunately, an approved VVR takes care of relocating holiday flights, so that goal is simply achieved". said Remco Dijkstra. Coalition partners ChristenUnie and CDA have not indicated how they enter the debate.

Parliamentary questions unanswered
It was expected that the House would also discuss almost 10,000 responses that were submitted to the amended Airport Decree for Lelystad. The House has recently asked 181 written questions about this. The minister has already indicated on Monday that she cannot answer it for the Wednesday afternoon debate. Opponents united in the Cooperating Action Groups against Low Flying (SATL) recently fiercely fought for the ministry, because of the 164 thousand improvement proposals submitted, only three took over.

The minister did answer questions about the flight routes. In it she repeats that departure routes from Lelystad will be adjusted no later than in the winter of 2021-2022, so that aircraft can start climbing earlier. The plan is that aircraft can climb after Hattem and Wezep, so that they will fly higher at Apeldoorn and further above Gelderland that was originally intended.

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