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The organisation, supported by Transport & Environment and ClientEarth, filed their complaint to force publication of the report with the court in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The organisations called on the Dutch and other European governments to not use this ruling as a blank cheque in order to keep the public in the dark as to how aviation environmental rules are drafted.
CO2 emission standards for aircrafts were established for the first time in 2016. A document from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN organisation dealing with the standards, contains information about how they were developed. The Netherlands is a member of ICAO, but refuses to give the report to Natuur & Milieu as well as other organisations, journalists and parliamentarians.
In order to be able to assess the standards, according to Natuur & Milieu, it is necessary to have clarity about what they are based on. "Strict CO2 standards for aircrafts are important to limit emissions," said Marjolein Demmers, Director of Natuur & Milieu. "But we can only assess whether the standards are ambitious enough if we know exactly what they are based on."
The decision of the judge is, according to Natuur & Milieu, negative for the debate on aviation. "The information about the establishment of the standards will continue to remain secret. As a result, we can not have an open debate about it," said Demmers. Natuur & Milieu, together with Transport & Environment and ClientEarth, will examine the possibility of an appeal.
“Governments are continuing to hide behind ICAO secrecy rules to disguise the fact that proposed measures will do nothing to cut emissions from the sector. Either the Netherlands and other European governments open up ICAO to proper scrutiny by publishing these documents, or they should stop working through this agency until it changes its ways,” said Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager at Transport & Environment.
“We are disappointed that the court ruled in favour of secrecy. Emissions from aviation have a global impact that affects all of us. The public has the right to access information on how these emissions will be reduced and participate in decisions that affect their health and environment. These issues are just too important to be regulated in secret,” concluded Ugo Taddei, lawyer at ClientEarth.