The State of the Netherlands has been found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide adequate legal protection to local residents of Schiphol Airport and by systematically subordinating their interests to those of the aviation indusry. This was decided by the District Court of The Hague today in the proceedings on the merits of the Foundation Right to Protection from Aircraft Nuisance (in Dutch: Stichting Recht op Bescherming tegen Vliegtuighinder; or ‘RBV’) against the State. 

The ruling not only constitutes an important recognition of the position of local residents, but also offers concrete prospects for improvement. The court ordered the State to apply the applicable laws and regulations again within 12 months. This means that the State must once again start applying the 2008 Aviation Traffic Decree (LVB). According to calculations the State had made, only 400,000 aircraft movements are permissible based on the 2008 LVB. This means a considerable reduction for Schiphol, even more than the Minister had announced in earlier (now withdrawn) reduction plans.  The court makes clear that falling back on the law does not require prior advice from the European Commission (i.e. the 'Balanced Approach procedure'). 

Moreover, falling back on the LVB 2008 is not enough. The State must also ensure practical and effective legal protection for all local residents within 12 months.  In doing so, the State must –conrary to the current situation– take local residents outside the contours established by the State into account, as well as the latest insights on the relationship between noise and annoyance ('representative BR relationships'). 

And these adjustments are not all the State will have to do either.  This is because the court also makes makes it clear that the current regulations do not strike a 'fair balance' between the interests of local residents and other interests. The State has always prioritized the growth of Schiphol and then looked at what space was 'left'. This must change from now on. The court's ruling makes it clear that local residents should no longer be the closing post. 

The judgment is provisionally enforceable; the State will therefore have to start implementation regardless of whether an appeal is filed.

The foundation was represented by Channa Samkalden and Elles ten Vergert.


Share this message with

Do you have a question?

Read in our privacy statement how we handle your personal data.