This article is the first in a series on North Holland lobbying.
As of 5 December 2022, Lelylijn is officially part of the Dutch government’s programme, and the EU has designated the project as the TEN-T network, an infrastructure planned to improve connectivity between European countries. network).
The decision comes after months of non-positive headlines about rail connections in the north. Frequent disruptions, lack of high-speed connectivity with the rest of the country, and inadequate infrastructure to handle the increasing number of passengers and commuters test the network’s resistance daily. There is a widely shared public feeling about the need for improvement.
Two projects could have a significant impact on rail connectivity in the region. Lelylijn, which connects Groningen and Lelystad at 200 km/h, and the Emmen Line, a cross-border link between Emmen and the Rhine in Germany.
In addition, a third railway project called the Nedersachsenline (or Lower Sachsenline) will connect Groningen and Emmen, thus benefiting cross-border commuters.
In early December, the EU Transport Council decided to include Lelylijn in the TEN-T network, which is currently in the process of being revised by the European institutions.Secretary of State Vivian Heinen Said This is a “beautiful step” towards the realization of this project. “There is still a lot of work to do, but this European decision will help that and at the same time challenge us to really work on Lelylijn.”
Northern growth potential
Besides improving connections for rail users, building the Lely Line, Emmen-Rhine Line and Nedersachsen Line could also help combat population decline and housing shortages in the north of the Netherlands. there is.
according to report “Amsterdam-Nord Holland-Hamburg Rail Link Opportunities” published in 2021, “A well-developed rail link is a decisive location factor for the settlement of new companies.” Attract the working population.
Lobbying organizations Strong Northern Netherlands (SNN) and the North Sea Commission of the Near Seas Council (CPMR-NSC) are committed to increasing funding for these railways and expediting the legislative process for final approval and construction. is advocating. In particular, lobbying groups are working hard to have Lelylijn and the Emmen-Rheine line included in his TEN-T.
The work of the SSN and the CPMR North Sea Commission represents the interests of the North and aims to empower the region in negotiations with national governments and European institutions. The inclusion of Lelylijn in his TEN-T is a tangible result of these efforts and part of a broader framework that encompasses many areas such as transportation, clean energy and the circular economy.
Local Opposition, Community Solidarity
Almost all political parties support Lelylijn, but some local factions do not want the project. He believes that faster connections will bring more people from Randstad to, say, Friesland, threatening local identity and culture.
Regional Minister Drenthe Nelleke Vedelaar told the Northern Times that the northern part of the Netherlands is jointly advocating for better integration of the region into the European rail network.
“Not only because of the regional advantages, but especially because of the opportunities that improved international connectivity offers for the Netherlands and Europe,” says Vedelaar. Local ministers mentioned, among tangible benefits, the improvement of cross-border business, labor mobility and contribution to efforts towards zero emissions.
Some consider Lelylijn to be a project that has no tangible positive impact on people’s lives. According to SSN, despite the obvious differences in interests, lobbying to improve rail connectivity has been successful and successful.
In April 2021, Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe (together with Flevoland) unveiled the building blocks of the Delta Plan project (Boostenen Voor Het Deltaplan). In short, the plan says northern states can contribute to some national challenges, such as the housing crisis. There is space to build up to 220,000 new homes in the north, which will require the presence of better infrastructure.
These investments should be made in three directions: upgrading existing rail connections, building Lelylijn and building Nedersaksenlijn.
The SSN adviser explained that there is solidarity among the regional ministers and they share the same priorities. It is true, for example, that the province of Drenthe benefits less from leerylins than does Friesland, and that Nedersachsenlin feels a greater need.
Nevertheless, the provinces agreed on common interests and made their proposal as “North” (and Flevoland province). This is an effective example of interstate lobbying.
lack of funds
However, as a general rule, northern provinces tend to receive less funding than other parts of the Netherlands when the government is distributing funds for new infrastructure. For example, in the latest infrastructure investment round in November 2022, the government allocated her €7.5 billion across the country. Of this, approximately €325 million (4%) was allocated to the Netherlands North and 65% to the Netherlands North. Randstad (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and surroundings).
“We went to this land.”
Het regeerakkoord is duidelijk: de kloof tussen (Rand)stad en regio moet dicht. Brede welvaart voor iedereen.
The Northern Netherlands is one of the most beautiful places in the world. hoe?
Maak het Noorden better bereikbaar. pic.twitter.com/nWH9rVNyUu
— Strong North Holland (@SterkNoordNL) November 17, 2022
One of the arguments made in defense of such a decision is that the coalition agreement has already funded 3 billion investments in North Korea. However, those funds are set aside for his long-term projects with a 2038 deadline, like Lelylijn.
The North Holland needs more money to invest in problems plaguing commuters, with the mainline railway linking the north and west having problems an average of nine hours a week, according to lobbyists. Each time, the northern region is effectively cut off from the rest of the country.
Lelylijn and TEN-T
A project to include Lelylijn in the TEN-T framework has been around for some time, but became more specific when the government announced a coalition agreement in December 2021. Proposed TEN-T revision.
Belonging to the network increases your chances of receiving European funding that can fill this gap. As such, it is important for organizations lobbying to include his Lelylijn in TEN-T to work in this direction.
For SSN, joining the TEN-T map is a decisive step, but not the final one. Lobbying must continue to ensure the infrastructure is built. The advisor explained that it is important that lobbying efforts from the various actors involved (SNN, CPMR-NSC, and local and central governments) continue to be coordinated and pursue the same goals.
Lelylijn represents a regional upgrade of the northern Dutch rail network, but is also part of an international project to improve connectivity with other Nordic countries: Germany, Denmark and Scandinavia.
Through an association agreement, the government has secured 3 billion euros for Lerilin within the Northern Delta scheme. This is a framework for enhancing the growth capacity of the region.
The official cost is estimated at 6-9 billion euros, so at best these funds can cover half of the funding required for this infrastructure. The Association Agreement also stipulates that the amount retained by the government should be supplemented by both European and regional funds.
The Ministry of Infrastructure has formally requested the European Commission to include Lelylijn in the TEN-T Extended Core Network. positive Response to this request in October.
https://northerntimes.nl/lobby-lelylijn-ten-t-network/ Efforts to improve railroads are working – The Northern Times