Efforts to find alternatives to flooding a polder in Zeeland as compensation for the loss of wildlife habitat appear to have failed, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.
The Hedwige polder in Zeeland is supposed to be flooded as part of the scheme to widen the Westerschelde estuary, allowing bigger ships to reach Antwerp harbour.
Belgium has carried out its share of the project but the Netherlands has not yet done so, partly because of a row over nature compensation. Many MPs and organisations oppose the plan to break the dykes and ministers agreed to look for an alternative.
However, cabinet sources have told the Telegraaf that civil engineers have not come up with anything new and that the idea of developing wildlife habitats outside the dykes in the estuary itself will not work either.
There is now little alternative but to break the dykes and flood farmland covering an area equal to 650 football pitches, the paper says.
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