A decision by infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz to relax building regulations in the Dutch coastal areas has been greeted by dismay in parliament and among environmental groups, Trouw reports.
On Friday the government announced that it wanted to develop an ‘economically strong coastal region’ with fewer rules. This means beach bars will be able to remain in place all year round and that it will be easier to build holiday homes in undeveloped parts of the fragile dune area.
The new rules will allow building unless it hinders the movement of sand in the dunes and beaches. In addition, local councils will be able to come up with their own regulations.
MPs from the coalition Labour party said they are concerned the VVD minister give money and jobs priority over the natural environment. ‘Tourism and jobs are important but not at the expense of this beautiful natural space. And the fact we have such unspoilt places is good for tourism.’
‘We consider the coast, the sea and the dunes to be a single area,’ said Marlous van ‘t Pad, from natural heritage organisation Natuurmonumenten. ‘If councils can decide themselves about building, there will be no overview of the damage as a whole.’
GroenLinks MP Liesbeth van Tongeren said she fears overdevelopment, as has happened in Belgium. ‘Soon you will have a campsite next to the pancake restaurant, a bungee jump, a funfair and before you know it an entire amusement park.’
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