Construction workers fill Malieveld to protest against nitrogen regulations

Construction workers are protesting against the new regulations to manage the nitrogen crisis on the Malieveld in The Hague today. There have already been conflicts with the police. The A12 has been shut down to prevent more vehicles from entering the Malieveld.

The Netherlands is currently in the grip of a nitrogen crisis. However, the government’s attempts to impose regulations to lessen the amount of nitrogen in the air have been received with protest after protest. After the slew of farmers’ demonstrations in The Hague and at provincial houses around the Netherlands throughout October, construction workers have taken their place on the Malieveld in The Hague. The turnout for this protest is considerably lower than the farmers’, reports NOS. The construction industry makes up between five and six percent of the Dutch economy, more than the agricultural industry does.

Why are the builders protesting?

The reason for the protest is the PFAS standard in The Hague, as well as new building regulations, which have stalled construction works in the Netherlands. These were introduced to combat the nitrogen crisis, but the government announced yesterday that they would roll back these regulations in December. The construction workers pointed out that for some entrepreneurs, December was pretty far off still- hence their decision to go ahead with the protest today.

The problem with the PFAS regulations

Given the housing shortage in the Netherlands, as well as the necessity of doing construction work to make buildings more sustainable, those involved in the construction industry were frustrated by how these regulations were standing in the way of building progress around the country. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the nitrogen crisis spells doom for much of the nature in the Netherlands. The government has not yet come up with a solution that protects the environment while also taking care of those who rely on the construction (or agricultural) industries for income.

How do we solve the nitrogen crisis while also protecting workers? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature image: Martijn Schoolenberg/Twitter.

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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