Zuidplas municipality disappointed with the participation process at Rotterdam The Hague Airport

In a letter to the co-participants, the board of B&W from Zuidplas has expressed its disappointment with the participation process in the new aviation decree from Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA). Zuidplas expresses this partly on behalf of Gouda and Waddinxveen municipalities, with which the results are reflected. In all documents about the participation process, the name Zuidplas appears only once on the list of participants.

The letter reads:We believe that the discussions with the participants have been useful, in the sense that more insight and understanding of each other’s interests and views has developed, and that agreement has been reached on certain sub-topics. Despite this positive note, a sense of disappointment dominates when the balance sheet is drawn up“.

This disappointment already has a history, Zuidplas was not allowed to participate as a direct stakeholder while the landing is being deployed over Zevenhuizen and some of the residents are experiencing inconvenience. Written questions were asked about residents’ evenings being held in other municipalities around the airport, but not in Zuidplas. The presentation of the airport in a council committee was not well received by the council members and in the end the participation process was unanimously rejected by the council. A large part of the council’s members saw shrinkage instead of growth as a picture of the future.

The airport’s plans say growth can be achieved by allowing more flights with quieter aircraft. The airport wants to reduce the number of flights around the edges of the wholesale traffic opening hours. This includes, for example, the holiday flights that now depart at 07.00, and which people want to move to 08.30 until 2033.

In the letter, the municipality of Zuidplas states that it is a disappointment that there is no agreement among the participants on a preferred scenario, and that the residents’ input and its visibility in the final result has remained below par as far as the municipality is concerned. . “Even more painful is that resident representatives did not (only) drop out of the participation process for material reasons. The rules of the participation process were not applicable to them. Consulting with a broad constituency was incompatible with the subject
strict agreements on the confidentiality of documents. It is very unsatisfactory and disappointing that a solution to this has not finally been found
said Zuidplas.

Zuidplas would have liked to see a more convincing package of nuisance reduction measures found feasible. Worth considering are initiatives such as a more far-reaching/stricter night closure, waiver of growth targets, abolition of noise quotas to a greater extent and increased efforts to use fixed approach routes. For the municipality of Zuidplas, these approach roads may cause a problem when preparing the environmental impact report (EIA) for the construction of the fifth village in the central area of ​​Zuidplaspolder.

Zuidplas is not happy that they only received the noise contour at a very late stage: “We received the calculation result for the 48 dB(A) contour very late, on 28 October 2022. The western part of the Zevenhuizen core may lie within this contour. We haven’t actually had time to look into the consequences of this. For now, we assume that the realization of new homes within the municipality of Zuidplas will not be hindered. We will continue to follow this interest closely“.

The municipality has experienced that there was too little insight during the negotiations, which prevented good decision-making: “We saw it as a shortcoming that during the participation process (too) little insight could be given into the effects of draft agreements that were on the table. Without a good insight into the effects of agreements to be concluded, it is very difficult to conduct negotiations“. Zuidplas does, for example, what the effects might be of deploying quieter aircraft, where Zuidplas would have liked to see this for the benefit of nature and not to be able to carry out more flights.

In an information memorandum to the Zuidpla municipal council, it is stated that the participation agreement has no legal status on the aviation decree, and if this decree exists, the municipality will investigate it. Zuidplas municipality can then choose to submit an opinion to the EIA.

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