Prime minister supports creating North Sea island

Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende supports the construction of an artificial island in the North Sea just off the coast at The Hague, the Dutch media report on Tuesday.

Balkenende told a conference of the Innovation Platform, of which he is chairman, in Scheveningen on Monday that that he wants research into the possibilities of creating the island to be completed by the end of this year.
According to the Financieele Dagblad (FD) the island, or rather peninsula, will provide space for at least 10,000 homes as well as a nature reserve. Some 80 companies and organisations, including banks, have already said they want to be involved in to the so-called ‘sand motor project’ which will cost €50m, the paper says.
According to the FD, the sand motor project is a realistic alternative to the tulip-shaped island the Innovation Platform presented at its conference last year.
The Innovation Platform says that creating an artificial island will offer extra protection to coastal areas and that by incorporating a difference in water levels, electricity could be generated from hydro power, reports Trouw.
The Netherlands must ‘dare to think big’, Balkenende is reported as saying in several newspapers.
Around one-quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea-level and the country has a long history of land reclamation and fighting floods. Balkenende told yesterday’s conference that the Netherlands has build up a worldwide reputation for land reclamation.
For more on the conference click here

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