Five seaside resort town councils have given money to campaigners opposed to the development of offshore wind farms, the Volkskrant says on Thursday.
In total, the councils, including Wassenaar and Zandvoort, have donated €85,000 to the Vrije Horizon foundation which is lobbying against national government backing for the wind farms.
The councils say the money is being used for ‘public information’ not lobbying, but some local councillors are furious about the donations.
‘This is like Italy,’ one Katwijk councillor told the Volkskrant. ‘It is ridiculous that taxpayers are having to pay to oppose national government.’
In March, parliament gave the green light to the building of three large offshore wind parks 18 to 22 kilometres off the coast of Zeeland, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland.
Many seaside resorts oppose the wind farms, saying they will spoil the view for holidaymakers and day trippers. Vrije Horizon says the turbines should be placed 40 kilometres off the coast, where they would not have an impact.
The energy agreement signed between ministers, industry and green groups in 2013 included major offshore wind farms. By 2023, some 16% of the energy used in the Netherlands is due to come from sustainable sources. The current figure is around 5%.