Milieudefensie and Rotterdam Sign Agreement

Milieudefensie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are presenting the 'Agreement on a Sustainable Maasvlakte'. This year both parties are having a study carried out to determine whether and how the emissions of fine dust, NOX, SO2 and CO2 originating from activities of the current Maasvlakte and the Second Maasvlakte can be reduced.

The joint ambition is a reduction of air-polluting substances by 10% as of 2020. In view of this result Milieudefensie will refrain from taking legal measures against the construction and use of the Second Maasvlakte.

In the past few months the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) have had constructive discussions about the differences of opinion regarding the environmental goals and performance of the Second Maasvlakte. It was determined that it was more attractive for both parties to strive for sustainable use of the Maasvlakte rather than get involved in litigation on the matter, as they expect this will lead to greater and more efficient environmental benefits, said Rotterdam officials.

A part of the agreement is a study into the most effective measures for realizing the emissions reduction. This includes such things as the use of shore-based electricity for sea-going vessels which are berthed in the port, the use of port dues as an incentive for shippers to invest in environmental measures, and increasing the environmental zone on the Maasvlakte so that only cleaner trucks are welcome in other parts of the port area. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and Milieudefensie will continue their consultations in the coming years to monitor the effect of the measures to be taken and, if necessary, to take additional measures.

Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said, "We are pleased with the constructive attitude of Milieudefensie. It has always been the goal of the Port Authority to create win-win situations with all stakeholders in a permanent dialogue, whereby the economy and liveability are improved. The construction of the Second Maasvlakte will go ahead as planned and at the same time we will see to it that the port will become more sustainable."

Frank Köhler, director of Milieudefensie, added, "Milieudefensie is happy with this agreement. It marks the end of years of conflict which threatened to end up in court. Things didn't have to go that far, as we now have a result which benefits the environment and the citizens of Rotterdam."

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