Saturday 26 November 2022

International conservation groups condemn Wadden Sea gas drilling plans

Part of the Wadden Sea, showing the mud flats. Photo: Ralf Roletsche via Wikimedia Commons

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has called on the Dutch government not to sanction drilling for natural gas under the Wadden Sea, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

A motion proposed by Dutch conservation group Waddenvereniging was passed by a majority of members at the IUCN’s conference in Marseille, NOS said.

At the end of August it emerged that the economic affairs ministry supports drilling for gas close to the Frisian coastal village of Ternaard, despite plans to phase out the use of natural gas in the Netherlands itself.

The IUCN vote means that ‘governments and nature conservation groups worldwide are calling on the Dutch government to leave Wadden Sea gas where it is,’ a spokesman for the Waddenvereniging said.

‘This is a unique Unesco heritage site and protected area, which is of great importance, for example, for birds flying from Siberia to Africa.’


Some local councillors in Ternaard, as well as conservation groups, are also opposed to the plans to drill for gas in the area.  The Ternaard site is one of 175 small gas fields which NAM has a licence to exploit.

The government is currently phasing out gas extraction in Groningen because of the earthquakes and subsidence caused by the land settling after gas has been removed.

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