More asphalt will not solve the congestion problem, but will lead to an increase in car use and thus a further increase in the emission of greenhouse gases and particulate matter. That is why the Party for the Animals does not want new highways and no widening of existing roads. In the party program we read that the Party for the Animals is against the widening of the A27 near the Amelisweerd nature reserve. For years there has been talk of widening the A27 to two times seven (!) Lanes. The widening is at the expense of the surrounding nature. Amelisweerd is an important nature reserve that should not be further affected. In addition, the effects on air and noise will have negative consequences for the quality of life in the area and for the health of local residents.
The Party for the Animals is in favor of the 'polluter pays' principle and therefore believes that motorists who drive a lot of car kilometers should pay more tax than people who drive few kilometers or drive outside rush hour. An exception to this kilometer pricing should apply to people who live in sparsely populated areas. There, substantial investments must be made in better public transport so that people become less dependent on the car. The kilometer charge and license plate registration must be accompanied by strict guarantees in the field of privacy. The proceeds from the kilometer pricing should be used through an investment fund to develop sustainable mobility, innovation and the roll-out of a common infrastructure.
Public transport serves both short and long distances as an important alternative to highly polluting means of transport such as airplanes and cars. Education and care institutions and government services must be easily accessible from every residential area. Also for people with a physical disability and also in shrinking areas. Public transport will be reliable, affordable and accessible.
Train stations must be made more accessible for the elderly, people with disabilities and cyclists. All stations must have sufficient and safe bicycle parking facilities. The Party for the Animals wants the public transport bicycle system to be introduced at all train stations and all important public transport hubs. Traveling by train must be comfortable and meet the needs of the (business) traveler. The number of trains will have to be expanded. In addition, the Party for the Animals wants meeting and work facilities at all junction stations and that every train set has toilets, sockets and internet. The Netherlands must focus on reliable, affordable, comfortable and fast public transport connections in Europe, with direct connections between important cities. Air traffic within Europe is thus reduced.
Fully electric cars and cars that run on hydrogen must be made more attractive from a tax point of view. By 2025, new cars with combustion engines should no longer be sold. Motorists who drive few kilometers or during off-peak hours should pay less tax than people who drive many car kilometers. An exception to this kilometer pricing should apply to people who live in sparsely populated areas.
There, substantial investments must be made in better public transport so that people become less dependent on the car. The new pricing must be accompanied by strict privacy guarantees. The speed limit on motorways has been reduced to 100 km per hour due to nitrogen deposition: it must remain that way, and on ring roads it must be reduced to a maximum of 80 km per hour. In the center a maximum speed of 30 km per hour applies. Night-time speed limits apply in nature reserves in the interests of the safety of humans and animals. Municipalities and provinces that establish an environmental zone must be able to count on active support. Efforts must be made to make the transport of goods through the city more sustainable in order to prevent urban attacks.
The challenge of limiting global warming to 1,5 ° C requires a strong contraction of air traffic, both in the Netherlands and worldwide. Investments in the growth of airports are therefore out of the question and, moreover, completely unnecessary. Further growth in aviation will make it impossible to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Tax benefits for air travel, such as exemptions from VAT and excise duties, should be abolished. In addition to introducing a flight tax, the government should explicitly encourage alternatives to air traffic. International train connections within Europe must be cheaper, faster and more comfortable, making it a more attractive choice than flying.
On November 22, 2006, the Party for the Animals was elected with two seats in the Lower House. A worldwide first! March 15, 2017, the Party for the Animals obtained three extra seats, an increase of no less than 150 percent. We are the first political party to focus not on the short-term interests of mankind, but on the entire planet and all its inhabitants. With our arrival in the House of Representatives, we have put animal rights, nature and the environment emphatically on the political agenda. And we constantly emphasize that the current crises in the areas of climate, food, economy, energy, animal welfare and biodiversity are interrelated - and can therefore only be tackled in conjunction.
Esther Ouwehand has been a Member of Parliament for the Party for the Animals since November 2006 and has been parliamentary leader in the Lower House since October 2019. Despite these years of experience in political The Hague, Esther still feels more of an activist than a politician.