ENVIRONMENT - Holland Copes with Pollution by Reducing Speeds

Flag of HollandHolland has a serious pollution problem from nitrogen oxides and particulate matter in the air. The air pollution levels are above those permitted by European law and are mainly caused by motor vehicle traffic and factories. In May of this year the Supreme Court ruled that about 18,000 construction projects must be halted in order to reduce pollution levels.

In order to continue with some of these construction projects the national government chose to reduce the national speed limit to 100 km/h between 6:00 am and 7:00 pm from 130 km/h. The highways will revert to the 130 km/h limit outside of those hours.

The European Traffic Safety Council had this comment for the decision:

“Higher speeds are always associated with a higher frequency of collisions and more severe consequences.  So a reduction in speeds on Dutch motorways will save lives. That’s to be welcomed, especially as motorway deaths in the Netherlands reached their highest level in a decade last year.  (1)

“However, it is important to point out that almost 40% of deaths on motorways in the EU occur during hours of darkness. (2) Switching back at night to 130 km/h – a relatively high limit by European standards – cannot be recommended from a safety point of view.

“It should go without saying that enforcement will be critically important to the effectiveness of this measure.  But in recent years the Netherlands has cut back on enforcement of traffic offences.  We hope the new measure will go hand-in-hand with a boost to police checks.”