Brussels poised to accept compromise over polder flood plan

The European Commission is prepared to agree to a partial flooding of the Hedwige polder in Zeeland, ending a diplomatic row lasting several years, Dutch media report on Tuesday, quoting EU sources.

Flooding the Hedwige polder was part of an agreement signed between the Netherlands and Belgium in 2008 on the deepening of the Westerschelde estuary. The estuary is an important bird breeding ground and the agreement stated the polder, which straddles both countries, is to be flooded to compensate for the lost marshland.
However, the Dutch government faced fierce opposition from the Zeelanders, and after the June 2010 election, the new cabinet said the flooding would not go ahead. Farm minister Henk Bleker came up with two alternative sites but Belgium, the European Commission and bird protection groups refused to accept the revised plan.
The papers say environment commissioner Janez Potocnik is now prepared to accept a revised plan and will inform Bleker on Wednesday.

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