Air pollutant limits in the Dutch Air Traffic Decree

When first issued in 2002, the Dutch Air Traffic Decree contained limits for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulates (PM10), with a ceiling for each per kilogram maximum permissible take-off weight of all aircraft leaving Schiphol. In 2012 the CO limit was revoked when exceedance threatened, because of the risk of an unintended impact on emissions of other pollutants or noise.

With a new air traffic decree now in preparation, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment commissioned CE Delft to examine the desirability and effectiveness of again setting air pollutant limits.

The study concludes that retaining limits for NOx and PM10 might induce Schiphol’s operators to take additional steps to control these emissions. Lower emissions are good for the environment, though there are currently no problems with exceedance of air quality standards round Schiphol. While it is true that lower emissions of NOx and PM10 lead to higher emissions of CO and SO2, the latter constitute little if any problem in the vicinity of Schiphol.