Fatal flight

The Netherlands government's recent go-ahead to Amsterdam's Schiphol international airport to build another runway that will double its passenger load and treble its cargo capacity is meeting with increasing resistance from the Dutch. Their main grouse is the inevitable increase in engine din; even though 10,000 houses will be sound insulated, many more may be left deaf as doornails. Environmentalists and local activists are pushing for a last-ditch effort to persuade the Dutch Parliament to vote against this scheme.

The runway will cost 7 billion guilders (us $4 billion) and additional infrastructure like feeder roads and railways another 23 billion guilders US$?

On the list of excellence of European airports, Schiphol stands 4th. The projected expansion will enable it to handle 40 million passengers a year (nearly 3 times the Dutch population) and, by AD 2015, ferry 3 million tonnes of cargo. It will also create 55,000 new jobs.

Friends of the Earth (foe), Netherlands, has opposed the new plans, on the ground that it may wipe out the country's environmental gains. It also questions the wisdom of letting tourism remain an important aspect of the nation's economy.

The organisation has truculently planted Bulderbos, "roaring forest" trees on 2 patches of land it has procured in the projected runway area, hoping to shame the authorities into acquiescence.

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