AERIUS used intensively in first month of the PAS
During the first month of the PAS, AERIUS Calculator, Register and Connect were used intensively, and the system appears to function properly. In total, around 50,000 calculations were made, 832 notifications were submitted and around 12,500 calculation reports were exported. By conducting some 30 emergency repairs, or ‘hotfixes’, the AERIUS team helped the system overcome its teething problems.
In the first 24 hours, Calculator went offline twice due to the large amount of interest, but after that, the instrument went on to fulltime availability during office hours. Developers always took care to conduct the hotfixes outside office hours. This concerned, for example, bugs in Calculator or Register, problems with certain types of browsers, the sending of appendices from the Notification module, and the coupling with external map servers. Furthermore, the AERIUS team made a few corrections, at the request of the competent authorities, regarding areas, habitats and the room for development.
Far less discussion about calculations
Adviser Marcel Blankvoort of DPA Cauberg-Huygen has used the Calculator on numerous occasions. He advises particularly industrial companies, such as in the food processing industry, waste treatment and the automotive business. Calculating a company’s industrial processes and transport trips is slightly more complex than calculating agricultural expansions, he explains. ‘Great advantage of AERIUS compared to, for example, the air quality tool sets, is that many of the required factors have been built into the instrument. This makes my work a lot easier. And, even more important, it means there is far less discussion about the calculations with the competent authorities. Furthermore, AERIUS also includes nature areas, which means I do not have to go look for them elsewhere. The programme suits me fine, and whenever I do have a query, I usually am able to find what I need in the manual.’
Of course, there are also still some wishes. Blankvoort: ‘When the deposition level stays below 0.05 mol, AERIUS does not generate a report. In order to save the calculation data, I then make a screen print, but it would be good to have a normal report. The possibility of being able to compare two variants of a plan is very handy,’ the adviser concludes. ‘I would really appreciate it if this function could be expanded to include more variants.’
Beta version of Register
In the Dutch Province of Overijssel, in the first month of the PAS, the competent authorities received around 200 permit applications and 130 notifications. Ria van Leeuwen, staff member for the implementation of nature legislation at the province: ‘The Register basically does what it is supposed to do, although we still do have a number of start-up problems. This is probably’, she thinks, ‘because the current version is a beta version. It is, for example, a little awkward that the foundations for the notifications end up in a separate mail box. We then have to spend additional time gathering the information. I’m sure that this will have improved in the version that we get in December.’ Overijssel expects to issue its first permit in September.
Large infrastructure projects using Connect
Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch government service for roads and waterways) also uses AERIUS very frequently, although the tool set is not yet functioning optimally for large infrastructure projects. ‘Our upload files are usually much larger than those used in agricultural or industrial projects,’ says Carla Mors, project leader PAS implementation at Rijkswaterstaat. ‘For our calculations, we therefore mostly use Connect, the calculation web service of AERIUS. It is less user-friendly and has a much more basic functionality than Calculator and is less manageable for consultancy agencies. I therefore hope that, in the future, there will be more time for further development of Connect.’
Locations of the 832 notifications in the first month of the PAS