The expansion of the port of Antwerp receives approval from the Flemish government due to "urgent reason of great public interest". Approximately 272 hectares of undeveloped land on the left bank of the port area will now be developed as a commercial site, reports the entrepreneurial umbrella organization Voka - Chamber of Commerce Antwerp-Waasland. The approval also includes anticipated nature compensations.
Approval due to "urgent reason of overriding public interest"
Voka and the companies in the port of Antwerp have long insisted on the use of the 'residual land', but the existing regulations have not allowed this until now. "All infill projects together have an impact on the habitat of birds of prey, which is why a permit could not be granted in the past," reports Voka.
The Flemish government is now responding to this demand by labeling the infill project as a project "of compelling reason of great public interest". This makes the development and expansion of the port possible in areas for which no other destination is possible. A condition for this is that a commitment is made to realize the necessary nature compensations, whereby the new nature connects with existing nature reserves in the area.
The development of the land will mainly be led by existing port companies that want to expand their sites. Stephan Vanfraechem of Voka - Chamber of Commerce Antwerp-Waasland emphasizes the importance of this. If companies are not given the opportunity to grow, they will stop investing in the port of Antwerp and develop their business activities elsewhere. Today the green light was finally given, meaning companies can now submit individual permit applications. An additional advantage is that no new areas outside the port need to be explored.
Source: De Tijd, Belga, VILT