As of January 1, 2015, the Schiphol Environment Council will be the stage where all issues, interests and parties around the development of Amsterdan Schiphol Airport and embedding it within its environment come together. The three parties involved are government bodies, the aviation sector and residents. The Council is the successor to the current so called “Alderstafel Schiphol” and the “Schiphol Regional Consultative Committee” (CROS).
Why an Airport Environment Council?
Schiphol Airport is an important economic activity for the international competitiveness of the Netherlands with a relatively large impact on the environment. The balance between the development of aviation, increasing the quality of the environment and the potential for use of the space around the airport is a process where a lot of parties and their interests are involved. The Schiphol Environment Council is the place where all the parties and issues come together to negotiate, inform and consult.
What does the Schiphol Environment Council look like?
The Council consists of a Consultatieve Committee and Regional Forum. These two bodies each have their own tasks and work. The Consultative Committee and the Regional Forum will be led by a chairman. The main objective of the Consultative Committee is negotiating and advising on the strategic framework of the development of the airport and its surroundings. The focus at the Regional Forum is primarily on the provision of information and the wider dialogue on developments in the vicinity of Schiphol.
The Consultative Committee is an advisory body to the ministers of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Furthermore, all parties can themselves table issues and submit requests for advice. The Consultative Committee is permanent and will meet about four times a year. The Committee focuses on issues of spatial planning, infrastructure and regional economic policy, insofar as they relate to the development of the airport and its surroundings.
The Consultative Committee consist of the following parties: government bodies (on national, regional and local level), aviation sector (airport, airlines, traffic control) and residents’ organizations.
The Regional Forum is the place where parties meet to inform each other and to discuss the developments in the vicinity of Schiphol. Where as the Consultative Committee is intended primarily for negotiation and advice on the strategic frameworks, the Regional Forum deals with current issues regarding the operation of the airport (including noise reduction) and the spatial economic development of the region. In addition there is specific focus on broad consultation of knowledge and ideas in the area. This will be done through various forms of consultation: (knowledge) meetings, workshops, field visits and online discussions. The Regional Forum consists of the samen parties as the Consultstieve Committee.
From the perspective of local residents the three key improvements are:
1. Residents get an independent delegation: the citizen representatives are elected by the people and not as before appointed by municipalities
2. Involvement will be transparent and accountable: discussion and adoption of positions is no longer done in secrecy
3. Modern engagement & services will be introduced: a Digital Regional Forum supports information exchange and interaction, opinion polls, one-stop services, using social media, etc.
As a resident in the Schiphol area one can participate in the Schiphol Environment Council in three ways:
• Registering a residents association
• Joining an existing residents association
• Use the Digital Regional Forum
One can register a residents’ organization as a grassroots organization of the Schiphol Environment Council via the registration form on its website. This applies to existing organizations with more than 100 unique members, but also for newly established organizations that are still trying to recruit members. They can sign up as a candidate organization.
If a resident is not yet a member of any organization, then one can join one of the registered grassroots organizations. By joining one of these community organizations as a member one can make one’s voice heard.
The Digital Region Forum (DRF) has a dual function. It can contribute in general to the involvement of local residents in the discussion on the Schiphol area. In addition, it provides an excellent opportunity for the the cluster representatives to communicate with constituents. The DRF wil make information currently scattered over various organizations and websites more accessible. Moreover it opens the possibility of a “residents’ initiative” and can stimulate public debate on a number of topics.