XII. Spatial planning and mobility

Infrastructure and accessibility are vital to our economy. Despite the economic crisis, mobility has continued to grow in recent years. We are improving accessibility and traffic flow in two ways: first, by investing in such projects as tackling traffic blackspots and adding missing links in the main highway network, and second, by making better use of our existing road, rail and water infrastructure. Public transport must be reliable, accessible and efficient. Better connections must be created between trains and other types of public transport. Rail safety must also be enhanced. The mainports of Schiphol and Rotterdam are vital to our economy. The government therefore promotes their development and gives them more room to grow, while taking account of the quality of their surroundings.

•    During the government’s term of office, 80% of the remaining investment money in the Infrastructure Fund and Delta Fund up to 2028 can be allocated to new projects.
•    We will implement projects with a good balance between societal costs and benefits, as planned. This will include the construction of the Blankenburg Tunnel. At the same time we will also deal with the bottlenecks in the connecting road network. A decision will also be made on whether to widen the Utrecht ring road to create seven lanes in each direction.
•    We will not introduce road pricing in the form of a kilometre levy. Instead we will press ahead with the Beter Benutten programme aimed at making better use of our infrastructure and so reducing traffic congestion.
•    To ensure the available resources are used as effectively as possible and to promote enterprise and innovation, we will encourage public-private partnerships for the construction of new infrastructure.
•    The Eurovignet tax system will place greater emphasis on cleaner heavy goods vehicles. Any surplus revenues will be invested in the road network.
•    For environmental reasons the motor vehicle tax exemption for vintage cars will be abolished.
•    From 2016 existing budgets will be used for the phased introduction of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). An improvement programme will be launched to reduce level-crossing accidents.
•    A new long-term rail agenda will be drafted based on a review of how the rail network is organised and structured.
•    We will complete the process of granting the concession for main rail network transport directly to NS for the 2015-2024 period.
•    We will remove obstacles to cross-border rail traffic wherever possible.
•    We will explore the options for further decentralisation but will keep the main rail network intact.
•    Regional airports will be given more scope to develop, which will also bolster Schiphol Airport’s growth.
•    We will take stock of and, where possible, remove any barriers to sustainable inland shipping in order to boost the core functions of the Port of Rotterdam.  
•    We will streamline customs clearance in the interests of goods transport.

When it comes to spatial planning, we will opt for economic growth that avoids negative ecological and environmental impacts.

•    To ensure the Netherlands remains internationally competitive and gets the most out of its investments, priority will be given to the economic areas around the mainports, brainport and greenports.
•    Because decision-making on spatial projects needs to be simpler and faster, we will continue to streamline spatial legislation. In 2013 we will present an environmental planning bill that will replace several laws, including the Spatial Planning Act and the Water Act.
•    We will create a single database to provide easier access to spatial information.
•    Various ministries will explore the problems associated with population decline in certain regions. In those areas affected, all forms of cooperation must be facilitated in the education system. Housing will have to be adapted to reflect the composition of the population and some housing will have to be demolished. Facilities will be pooled where possible, with local authorities taking the lead. Regions experiencing shrinkage must be given more scope to deal with the problem through area-specific measures.

Central government is responsible for the framework and goals of Dutch nature policy, which are fleshed out and implemented by provincial authorities, as laid down in the Nature Management Agreement.

•    We will roll out the National Ecological Network (EHS), including green corridors, but we will take more time to do so. We will discuss the priorities, timing and use of resources with provinces and nature conservation organisations. We will look at the effects of all claims on space when evaluating the situation in 2016.
•    We will give priority to managing and protecting existing nature conservation areas, with the €200 million earmarked for nature in the budget agreement for 2013 being made available through the Provinces Fund.
•    The Nature Conservancy Act currently under review will be amended to harmonise the different levels of protection and, where relevant, brought into line with the Birds and Habitats Directives and other relevant legislation. This will strengthen biodiversity in the Netherlands.
•    To enable more private involvement, we will reconsider the position of the state forest service Staatsbosbeheer. Nature conservation organisations will be required to generate as much own income as possible.
•    In our nature policy we will aim for synergy with other social interests such as water safety, recreation, entrepreneurship, health, energy and climate.
•    Careful consideration has been given to the costs and effects of all the different options for compensating the damage to nature caused by deepening the Western Scheldt. As a result, we have decided to set about flooding the reclaimed Hedwige Polder as soon as possible.

Water is part of our Dutch identity and so water management and water quality will always remain essential government tasks. The Netherlands has unique knowledge and expertise in this area, which generates significant earnings. We can also use this knowledge to make water services more sustainable, which would improve our living environment.

•    Central government sets standards for and monitors primary flood defences, while the provinces are responsible for secondary flood defences and for coordinating water management at regional level.  
•    Water and nature management are becoming increasingly intertwined. Rijkswaterstaat, the Government Service for Land and Water Management and the water authorities will be asked to put forward proposals for boosting management and maintenance efficiency.
•    Maintaining the existing infrastructure for flood prevention is a policy priority. A flood prevention programme will be set up to effectively and innovatively combine the challenges involved.
•    Spending on flood prevention and the fresh water supply will be financed from the Delta Fund, which will be split off from the Infrastructure Fund in 2014.
•    We will continue the programme aimed at creating space for rivers, as well as the works on the Maas.
•    We will promote the export of water sector products, knowledge and expertise.

Animal welfare is important and enjoys wide public support. Significant progress has been made in recent years and we will press ahead with further improvements.

•    Over the next few years we will continue to promote animal welfare in factory farming based on the recommendations of the Van Doorn Committee.
•    We support cooperation between organisations in the food supply chain in the areas of animal protection, consumer interests, agriculture and food trade.
•    We will examine the public health aspects of planning regulations on very large livestock buildings and rules on antibiotics use for livestock, tightening these where necessary.
•    The regular police will crack down on animal neglect and abuse, a policy reinforced by severe penalties and bans on keeping animals.
•    Circuses will be banned from using wild animals in their performances.