Billions needed to shore up sea defences

The Netherlands needs to spend between €1.2bn and €1.6bn a year to protect the country against rising sea levels, a top-level government commission said on Wednesday.

And with the sea level set to rise up to 1.3 metres by 2100, there is also a danger to fresh water supplies, the Delta commission said in its long-awaited report.
Among the priorities for future governments is the implementation of a massive programme to strengthen crucial dykes by a factor of 10, the commission said.
In addition, the coast along large parts of the Noord and Zuid-Holland provinces should be made wider by dumping huge quantities of sand offshore.
Much of the funding for the country’s sea defences should come from the setting up a special fund with money earned from natural gas sales, the commission said.
It warned that proper financing and a strong organisation are crucial to success.
National importance
The commission, led by former agriculture minister Cees Voorman, was set up last year to report on how the country can best prepare for global warming.
The presentation of the report to prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was shown live on television because it is of ‘national importance’, reports Trouw.
A short film which accompanied it will ‘make the danger that awaits our country as a result of climate change clear to every Dutch person’, the paper said.
In 1953, nearly 2,000 people were killed in massive floods which led to the development of the original Delta works flood defence scheme.

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