Senators urge cabinet to stop massive Facebook data centre near Zeewolde

An artist's impression of the site. Illustration: Gemeente Zeewolde
An artist’s impression of the site. Illustration: Gemeente Zeewolde

Senators have called on the cabinet to halt the construction of a massive data centre for Facebook parent Meta near the Flevoland town of Zeewolde.

Most senators voted in favour of a motion calling on ministers to make sure that changes to local zoning rules, which paved the way for the construction, are not put into practice. The new government has pledged to draw up policy covering massive data centres but this has not yet been done.

The dispute over the local council’s green light for the massive data centre took a new twist last week when a political party opposing the project won an absolute majority in the local election.

The party opposes the decision to locate the Meta data centre on farmland and leader Tom Zonneveld says he will do all he can to have it reversed.

Zeewolde council voted to amend the zoning plan at the end of December, clearing the way for the data centre to be built. However, part of the land is owned by national government which which still has to give its approval for the project, and now senators have urged the state to say no.

The data centre, or hyperscale, is controversial for several reasons, not least of which that it is being build on agricultural ground. There is also concern about the massive amount of energy needed to power the centre – the equivalent of a small city of 460,000 people.

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