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NL: Growers can forget about getting extra compensation for highway dirt on their greenhouses

The extended A4 highway is all good and well, but what if because of it your greenhouses get dirty more often leading to extra cleaning costs? A grower in the Dutch Lepelstraat has been advocating for additional ‘disadvantage compensations’ for years, but he can forget about it now. On the 11th of September, The Council of State has declared the appeal unfounded.

The case was made for three plots of land with greenhouses on them in the town of Lepelstraat in the Dutch province of Brabant. After extending and continuing the A4 highway around Steenbergen, the greenhouses get dirty much faster than before. This leads to less light being let in the greenhouses.

Dirt on greenhouses and in the reservoir
According to the growers, or appellants as they are called in the appeal, they had to clean the greenhouses more often and pick unwanted plants and weeds from the water reservoirs since the construction on the A4 was completed. The trouble with the reservoir, according to the growers, is due to the fact that the Department of Waterways and Public Works does not do a good job maintaining some of the plots of land on the side of the extended A4.

In 2013 the first claim for damages was submitted by the growers. After three years of litigations, this resulted in reimbursements of over 21,000 euros and the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management who was involved in being reprimanded. The reimbursement was meant to pay for two extra greenhouse cleanings during the construction of the highway.

Yearly extra costs don’t get covered
But with just that the extra annual cleaning costs for the greenhouse are not covered. According to the Council of State the amount, 3,000 euros as said by the growers, is not high enough to be eligible for reimbursement. This is in proportion to costs that, according to the Council of State, are 'relatively limited' compared to the turnover in the years of 2009-2011.

Moreover, a limit that is used in a case like this is being indicated. Finally, it is proven that during the purchase of the plots back in 2004, it was already known that dirt from the highway was to end up on the greenhouses. Back in 1998, a route decision was already taken and approved.

Conclusion: the grower can forget about their ‘disadvantage compensations’.

Read the full statement here (in Dutch). 

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