There is too much nitrogen, particulate pollution, and CO2 in the air. These emissions also come from exhaust gases. High nitrogen emissions disrupt biodiversity in Natura 2000 areas. In addition, CO2 warms the earth (greenhouse effect) and changes the climate. And too much particulate matter, such as soot, is harmful to our airways and life expectancy (source: RIVM, in Dutch).
What do the numbers say?
The traffic and transport sector emitted 18.9% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 (35.6 Mton). While total emissions fell by 2.6% in 2018, the traffic and transport sector increased by 0.84% (source: Rijksoverheid, greenhouse gas emissions registration, in Dutch). When we talk about traffic emissions, we are actually talking about carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and particulate matter.
In addition to emergency measures to reduce nitrogen, the government is pushing for a move towards electric vehicles, bicycles, and biofuels. The following goals might impact your business.
Fewer greenhouse gases:
- 95% fewer greenhouse gases in 2050 and 55% fewer CO2 emissions in 2030 (Climate Agreement)
Fewer emissions in the transport sector:
- No more than 25 megatons CO2 emissions in the mobility and transport sector in 2030, which comes down to 17% less than in 1990. (Source: Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth)
- 50% more health gain in 2030 compared to 2016. To prevent 11,000 people from dying prematurely every year from polluted air. “On average, we live 9 months shorter due to dirty air that we ourselves cause,” says State Secretary Van Veldhoven. (Source: Clean Air Agreement, in Dutch)
Fewer car emissions
- From 2030, the government expects all new produced cars to be zero-emission. For example: electric cars, using battery, hydrogen fuel cell, or solar panels (in Dutch).
- By 2025, half of all new cars sold must have an electric powertrain and plug; of which at least 30% fully electric.
- By 2030, at least 14% of all fuel used in transport must consist of alternative fuels. The agreements are in the European Renewable Energy Directive (pdf).
Sustainable transport measures
The government is taking various measures: from improving the infrastructure for electric cars to discouraging the use of diesel cars. Here is an overview of the measures:
Sustainable from A to B
- From 2023, there will be a levy for carriers with trucks heavier than 3500 kg.
- Do you carry out assignments for the government as a supplier? Then you have to meet the condition that you use clean mobile construction machines, such as electric ones. This measure also has an effect on nitrogen emissions.
- The government is imposing increasingly strict environmental requirements on freight and delivery traffic. More efficient transport reduces the environmental burden. For example, with longer and heavier trucks.
- The shipping sector has to deal with regulations (in Dutch) for reduced emissions and energy consumption.
- Introduction of low-emission zones: national rules on low-emission zones apply. Older diesel-powered passenger cars, delivery vans, and/or trucks are no longer allowed to enter the city centre in a number of municipalities. This depends on the emission class of your vehicle. From 2025, the 30 to 40 largest cities will have emission-free zones. Only vehicles without emissions will be allowed to enter the city centres.
- Diesel cars will receive a particulate filter test during the required annual inspection (APK) from 2021.
- Labels for cars: new cars have an energy label, comparable to energy labels for your house or refrigerator. This label indicates how economical your vehicle is in terms of CO2 emissions compared to similar vehicles.
- European tire label: all new tires have a tire label, which compares fuel consumption and noise.
Refuelling and charging
- E10 petrol (in Dutch) at petrol stations: since October 2019, Dutch petrol stations have also been offering the 'greener' petrol E10. Up to 10% sustainable bioethanol has been added to this, which results in fewer CO2 emissions.
- Better charging and refuelling infrastructure for sustainable fuels, such as extra fast chargers for electric cars. You can refuel with hydrogen (in Dutch) at 8 locations in the Netherlands.
Green mobility schemes
The government wants to encourage electric driving because it is better for the environment. Various schemes are available, such as a temporary pause on motor vehicle tax (mrb) and private vehicle and motorcycle tax (bpm), limitation on added taxable income rate (bijtelling) and subsidy scheme for the purchase of a zero emission commercial vehicle (SEBA). Owners of diesel vehicles, on the other hand, pay more due to a particulate matter surcharge of 15% and an increase of excise duty. The government expects hydrogen to be an important source of energy in the future.
Cycling also reduces the CO2 footprint. There are various schemes for this form of sustainable mobility.
Do you invest in environmentally friendly techniques and sustainable transport? You may be able to use the Random depreciation of environmental investments scheme (Willekeurige afschrijving voor milieu-investeringen, VAMIL) for tax benefit, or the Environmental investment allowance (MIA).
In addition to making transport more sustainable, you may also have to deal with other climate measures from the government. For example, making your building energy efficient or circular entrepreneurship.