Environmental groups have lost the first of several cases aimed at stopping work on improving the Zandvoort race track as part of preparations to stage a Grand Prix next year.
A judge in Haarlem rejected claims that the work was permanently damaging the habitat of the protected natterjack toad and the sand lizard, both of which are poised to go into hibernation.
Noord-Holland provincial council had given the race organisers the green light to catch the animals and move them to a new location so they would not be disturbed while the work was going on.
The court ruled against the environmentalists’ claim that their habitat is being destroyed and said just two hectares are being permanently co-opted by the race track.
A second case, centering on the nitrogen-based pollution which the work is generating, and which the race itself will cause, will be heard on Friday.
The Formula 1 organisation aims to stage the first Dutch Grand Prix in 35 years in Zandvoort in May 2020, meaning the timetable is tight to carry out all the relevant work.
Green groups are also furious that the authorities have allowed the developers to start work on bringing the course up to scratch, even though the permits have not yet been finalised.
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