Brabant calls a halt to new building in nitrogen-sensitive areas


The province of Noord-Brabant has decided not to give any more environmental permits for projects which will boost nitrogren compound levels near protected parts of the countryside.

The move was unavoidable, but will have major consequences for a variety of sectors, from farms to residential property developers, regional officials say.

Building work on a 550 residential district on the outskirts of Breda has already been halted and 100 other projects are at risk, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

Brabant is unlikely to be the last province to take such as decision, experts say.

‘If the quality of Natura-2000 areas is becoming worse, this conflicts with EU’s habitat guidelines,’ Tilburg University spatial planning expert Ralph Frins said. ‘So if you discover this is happening, as analyses in Brabant have shown, then you have to act immediately.’

New homes

Despite the stoppage, housing minister Hugo de Jonge signed an agreement with regional officials to build a further 130,000 new homes in the province by 2030.

Some of them may be more difficult to realise because they will require an environmental permit, provincial council official Erik Ronnes told local broadcaster Omroep Brabant.

‘That is why this agreement is so important,’ he said. ‘It means we can prioritise building in areas where there are no problems and the others can be dealt with later.’

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