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Dutch News
Schiphol airport''s €1bn plans include shifting charters to Lelystad 6/2/2013

Amsterdam''s Schiphol airport plans to invest €1bn in improving its facilities over the next few years, including shifting charter flights to Lelystad airport. Talks about the future have been ongoing for months between the airport authority and Dutch flag carrier KLM, which accounts for some 50% of Schiphol flights. The agreement will be discussed by the cabinet on Friday. Schiphol airport is 100% state-owned.
Intercontinental flights
According to media reports, the deal states Schiphol will improve facilities for intercontinental flights and tariffs will go up marginally for all airlines. In order to free up airspace for further expansion, thousands of charter flights will be moved to Lelystad airport, in the heart of the Flevo polder. A final decision on that move will be taken next year, Nos television says. The aim is to expand Lelystad''s runway so that charter flights can use it intensively in 2017.
Travel firms
Travel operator organisation ANVR is enthusiastic about the move, according to news agency ANP. Nevertheless, passengers should still have the choice about whether to fly from Schiphol or Lelystad, director Frans Oostdam said. Much needs to be done to prepare Lelystad for hundreds of thousands of passengers a year, he said. ''Public transport needs to be improved and the window for take-offs and landings has to be expanded. Charter aircraft need to make several trips a day to be profitable.'' However, the head of holiday company ArkeFly is angry that other airlines were not consulted about Schiphol''s plans. This means ArkeFly, which takes holidaymakers to both European and long-haul destinations, will have to operate from two airports, he said.
Economy
Aviation economist Hans Heerkens told television programme Nieuwsuur the move is a logical step, and that without shifting flights to Lelystad, Schiphol risks breaking environmental rules. Nevertheless, the airport cannot simply shift charter operators to a different destination because that is not their decision to make, he said. It can, however, give them a lower priority. Local politicians are pleased with the plans, saying it will boost the economy and create new jobs.
10 years
There have been plans to expand Lelystad airport and move charter flights there for at least 10 years, all of which have stumbled on planning regulations. In December 2011, the Supreme Court tore up government plans to expand Lelystad airport, saying the refusal to agree flight paths in advance was particularly problematic. Towns around Lelystad and farming organisations had protested against the plans, saying they contravened airport legislation.


Almost 40% youngsters have ''inadequate or poor'' hearing

The hearing of Dutch youth is deteriorating and almost four in 10 under-25s have inadequate or poor hearing, according to the hearing foundation Nationale Hoorstichting.
The organisation bases its claims on 17,000 online check-ups. In 2011, three in 10 youngsters were said to have suffered some form of hearing damage.
‘We see trends emerging,’ spokesman Paul Heere is quoted as saying by Nos television. ‘It is increasingly easy to listen to music all day and the volume at concerts has gone up.’
The foundation wants hearing damage to be included in the government’s prevention programme, which MPs will debate on Thursday.
Labour MPs have already begun a campaign on hearing damage and want a 100 decibel limit on concert and club music volume.

Mobile phone minutes should not be lost after one month

MPs on Tuesday called on economic affairs minister Henk Kamp to ensure unused mobile phone minutes can be rolled over for at least six months, news agency ANP reports.
The consumers'' association Consumentenbond estimates mobile phone firms T-Mobile, Vodafone and KPN earn €68m a month by clawing back unused minutes from their customers.
The motion, from Liberal democratic party D66, has the support of a large majority of MPs.
Telephone firms encourage customers to buy large bundles of minutes by warning them of the additional costs of phoning too much, D66 parliamentarian Kees Verhoeven told ANP. ''But everything left over goes into the telecom firms'' pockets,'' he said.


Police hand out a million more traffic fines in four months

Traffic police handed out 3,750,000 fines in the first four months of this year, an increase of almost a million on a year ago, according to new justice ministry figures.
The 30% increase is largely due to speeding tickets generated by speed traps, in which a car''s average speed is calculated over a stretch of road.
In total, police handed out over three million speeding fines. Speed traps on the A4 motorway accounted for almost one third of these.
Car lease companies and motorists have made a huge number of complaints about the speed traps on the A4. In particular, they claim it is unclear what the maximum speed is.
Speed limits on Dutch roads can range from 130 kph to 30 kph.


Minister not prepared to regulate salt content in food

Health minister Edith Schippers told parliament on Thursday she is not prepared to introduce a legal requirement to lower the salt content in food.
Last week supermarkets and the meat industry said they would lower the amount of salt in food by 10% over the next two years.
However, health lobby groups say this is a ''false promise''. Self-regulation does not work and salt reduction in both sectors needs to be regulated by law, they say.
Platform
Schippers told parliament she is satisfied the food industry is taking appropriate steps to lower salt content and that legislation is unnecessary.
She wants to set up a platform to discuss reductions in salt, saturated fats and sugar with supermarkets, the meat industry and the agricultural sector.
According to the food safety body NVWA, the average daily intake of salt is nine grams, way above the six grams maximum the health council advises.


 
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