News: Government adjusts package of measures after RBV case to reduce noise nuisance

On Friday 24 May, Minister Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) announced that he is adjusting the package of nuisance-reducing measures to lower noise pollution around Schiphol and restore the legal status of local residents. This is in response to the court ruling in the RBV case and talks with the European Commission. The measures are needed as part of the so-called Balanced Approach procedure. This procedure is required by European rules, which include setting noise reduction targets.

Published on: 24 May 2024

The package of measures currently consists of:

In 2024:

  • By November 2024, KLM will replace noisy aircraft at night with quieter ones.

In 2025:

  • The Aalsmeerbaan Runway and Zwanenburgbaan Runway at Schiphol will be closed between 13:00 and 15:00. This will give local residents a daily rest period.
  • Schiphol is going to make the use of noisy aircraft at the airport more expensive. This will encourage airlines to use their quietest aircraft.
  • The noisiest aircraft, such as the Boeing 747-400, are no longer allowed to land and take off at night (23:00-07:00).
  • Airlines are replacing some of their aircraft with new ones that make less noise.
  • The maximum number of flight movements at night (now 32,000) is further reduced. The previous package stated the number of 28,700, which will be adjusted to 27,000.

In 2026:

  • The government is considering the introduction of a (partial) night closure from November 2026. First, the impact of this on the environment and the aviation sector needs to be carefully examined. The results of that study are expected in summer 2024. If the night closure proves impossible, the government wants to take other measures instead.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has indicated that with these additional measures, a large part of the noise targets will be met (-20% severely annoyed throughout the day and -15% at night). This increases the total number of flight movements per year. Earlier, that was 452,500 flight movements per year, and now it will be between 460,000 and 470,000. 'I know that a higher number of flight movements is a disappointment for many local residents and that it may feel to them as if we are taking a different course,' Minister Mark Harbers said. 'That is not the case. Our goal is unchanged, but we are adjusting some of the ways we want to achieve it.'

Ultimately, the cabinet will submit the final proposal of measures on which the European Commission will issue an opinion. After that, these changes must be laid down in a new Airport Traffic Decree (LVB). This will also restore the legal status of local residents.

You can read more about this on the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management's website: (only Dutch).

Schiphol supports package of measures

These plans by the government contribute to a quieter Schiphol, which we naturally support. The chosen measures are largely in line with the measures in our own 8-point plan. It is important for Schiphol and the ministry to continue talks with local residents to hear whether they actually experience less nuisance, regardless of the number of flight movements. Because that is what it is ultimately about. A night closure would be a significant step in that direction. We consider it positive that the government is thinking about introducing this by November 2026.