UECNA at the table in Brussels to advocate flight reduction for Schiphol

The reduction plan of Dutch Minister Harbers does not go far enough for residents of the Schiphol region, but it is a unique step in the right direction. Everybody is waiting for the European Commission, which must determine whether the Netherlands has followed the correct Balanced Approach procedure to be allowed to make such a decision. Because the sharks of the aviation sector are ready to challenge reduction and, if necessary, provoke a trade war across the ocean.

How can residents help their government get the green light in Brussels? It is not easy to gain access to the offices of the EU as a citizen. So when a letter from environmental organization Natuur & Milieu to the European Commission led to an invitation for a group visit -and they asked members of the Civic Advisory Board Schiphol to join- they seized the opportunity with both hands. A representative of the municipality of Amsterdam – which is now also in favour of flight reduction – and the director of the critical news site SchipholWatch were also present. And so suddenly two board members of UECNA were sitting at the table in Brussels with the most important officials of the Commission, cabinet members of DG Move and DG Clima.

We noticed that in Brussels they are not very used to talking to residents, but they really listened and we had a good series of coordinated arguments. I think we left a positive impression and the urgency to avoid another postponement was clear.

Again experience has shown that only by helping each other you can achieve anything. The good cooperation between residents and the ministry I n the Netherlands will be continued in our webinar on March 4 on the Balanced Approach. Feel free to join!

Matt Poelmans & Wouter Looman