The Netherlands has an emissions problem. The EU nitrogen limit values are consistently exceeded in our neighboring country.
This has drastic consequences for Prime Minister Mark Rutte: 18,000 construction projects had to be stopped, because even during construction massive releases of nitrogen oxides. In order to lift the decision, Rutte must take other measures. The country's supreme court is putting so much pressure on the government in The Hague. And this pressure is released in a braking maneuver: nationwide speed 100 on all Dutch highways.
This decision drove sweat on the palms of many drivers early in the week. Even in Germany - but was only in October in the Bundestag on a speed limit of 130 km / h on highways tuned. 498 MPs opposed the motion of the Greens, 126 for it.
There was no vote in the Netherlands. The measure is unavoidable in view of the nitrogen oxide problem, says Rutte. In fact, the resolution is even welcome if we consider it purely scientific.
So far, the data is theoretical - or outdated
Air knows no physical limits. If the Netherlands has an emissions problem, Europe has an emissions problem. It is also indisputable that we must take measures globally to improve values. In addition to calculations on paper we should experiment in the field. For this traffic areas must become a laboratory, failure must be allowed. At a time when we urgently need answers to environmental questions, we simply can not afford to tear up possible solutions in the air.
In fact, the predicament among our European neighbors is a stroke of luck, and we should take a closer look. Because the measure offers the opportunity to finally measure what causes a speed limit. So far, the data on the impact of speed limits is either theoretical or obsolete.
The most cited study in Germany, which is based on surveys in the field, dates from the year 2007. After the introduction of a speed limit of 130 km / h in December 2002 on a 62-kilometer section of the A24 in Brandenburg, the effects were investigated. However, the subject of the analysis was not emissions, but accidents, casualties and traffic.
The speed limit as a democratic measure
In addition, there are surveys such as those of the German Road Safety Council (DVR) from 2016, which deal with the connection between fatal accidents and speed. Again no air values.
Documents dealing with the reduction potential of emissions, such as the introduction of a speed limit, are theoretical in nature. As the progress report of the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) from 2010. Statements on the contribution of speed limits to relieve the environment, the UBA takes an analysis in 2012 on the basis of data from 1996. Because "lack of recent surveys on the speed behavior on highways "no more current statements are possible. That is bitter.
The Netherlands now has the opportunity to produce a new dataset that is universal. In Germany, speed limit critics thought, after the vote in the Bundestag, the cow was once off the ice. The European neighbor could now provide new arguments.
Speaking of cow: In the Netherlands, this animal is a problem. Agriculture is still the largest nitrogen producer in the Netherlands, ahead of transport and industry. In the various mitigation approaches, there was also the scenario in which livestock could be drastically reduced by 50 percent. For weeks, farmers have been demonstrating against planned government action. They caused long traffic jams with their agricultural machinery on highways and stormed the administrative building of the Dutch province of Groningen.
Compared to this scenario, the speed limit is a thoroughly democratic measure. It does not hit a certain occupational group, such as the farmers, but the cross-section of the (car-driving) society. And between 19 and 6 o'clock in the morning, the old limit of 130 km / h still applies on the affected routes.