Badgers stop building homes for 800 refugees in Gelderland
The discovery of three badger setts has put plans to build accommodation for 800 refugees at Malden in Gelderland in doubt.
‘Accommodation for three badgers is now preventing us from housing 800 people,’ junior minister for asylum Eric van der Burg said during parliamentary questions, mistakenly suggesting the presence of just three badgers instead of three setts.
Badgers are protected and that means that, as was the case of the badgers undermining train tracks in Friesland and Noord-Brabant, special dispensation will have to be given by the provincial authorities to re-home them.
Refugee accommodation agency COA has said it will ask the Gelderland authorities for such a ruling but the province has said it will first have to conduct a thorough investigation.
The situation is complicated by the fact that Heumen local council wants the accommodation to close by December 1 and that emergency accommodation of this size will have to stay in place for at least six months. The centre was due to open on June 1.
‘It is unclear how long the investigation will take,’ a COA spokesman told the AD. According to environmental research group Ecoresult it will not be a matter of a couple of weeks because probes will have to be carried out both in spring and autumn.
The COA is currently facing a shortfall of 38,000 beds for refugees unless more emergency accommodation becomes available.
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