To prevent further clutter in the Netherlands, a Minister of Spatial Planning must be appointed. That is what the Council for the Living Environment and Infrastructure advises the outgoing cabinet today.
The negotiators at the formation table receive another weighty advice today. The Council for the Living Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) – an important adviser to the cabinet – believes that a special Minister of Spatial Planning should be appointed. That, and more, is necessary to ensure that the Netherlands does not become more cluttered.
The Netherlands is spatially locked
Spatial planning in our country has been neglected over the past twenty years, according to research by the Council. The central government has left the way in which the Netherlands is organized mainly to provinces and municipalities. But there is often a lack of knowledge and money at that regional and local level. As a result, the consequences of the construction of wind turbines, industrial estates, distribution centers, homes and all kinds of other buildings have not been properly considered.
Fear among drivers
‘All this is insufficient to properly tackle the major renovation that is coming to the Netherlands’, the researchers write about the way in which it is now arranged. The landscape is already cluttering and if nothing is done it will only get worse. According to the Council, the Netherlands is spatially ‘locked in’: politicians and administrators are mainly concerned with ‘postponing far-reaching decisions for fear of being judged by them’.
A Minister of Spatial Planning must break through that pattern and ensure that the consequences of changes in the areas of climate, energy, housing, nature and agriculture are properly considered. Such a minister must be given his own budget. The provinces must also work more closely on spatial planning, in consultation with the new minister.
They are mainly concerned with postponing far-reaching decisions for fear of being judged
Most parties in the House of Representatives are in favor of greater government control of spatial planning. Since 1965, the Netherlands had a separate Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning. But in 2010 – with the formation of the first Rutte cabinet with the support of the PVV – the ministry was closed down. The tasks were transferred to provinces and to other ministries (Internal Affairs, Economic Affairs and Infrastructure and Water Management).
In their election programs, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie are in favor of a separate minister. Of the negotiating parties at the formation table, only the VVD is silent in the program about the return of a separate minister.
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