Coastal storms: innovative measures

From time to time, the North Sea coast is affected by storms with varying intensity. In coastal municipalities such as Blankenberge, appropriate measures are taken to prevent potential damage.

SARCC is short for Sustainable & Resilient Coastal Cities, a European network of which Blankenberge is part. As Mayor of Blankenberge, Patrick De Klerck paved the way for several measures to protect the coast against a so-called ‘thousand-year storm’, a superstorm that occurs once every thousand years. In his new role as a Flemish government official, Patrick De Klerck continues to work on this topic.

“What is essential in this respect is raising public awareness. After all, a wide range of measures are needed to efficiently address coastal storms. Coastal defence requires cooperation between companies, government authorities, the research world and citizens.”

Patrick De Klerck considers breaking up the ‘Atlantic Wall’, as he calls the high-rise buildings on the seafront, an interesting option. “We need to adopt different building practices on the coast. Perhaps we should create a retention basin in the form of a large square with a block of flats on stilts. It sounds futuristic, but I believe it is necessary. In the Netherlands, the construction of such a basin has already begun.”

Another option is the facilitation of dune formation in front of the Sint-Jansdijk seawall which separates the beach from the dunes and hinterland. This pilot project has been initiated in Middelkerke.

patrick de klerck over kustverdediging

“The beach between Zeebrugge and Blankenberge becomes wider year by year. This also creates possibilities for dune growth. We would like to see a horizontal dune on the beach.”

Patrick De Klerck points out that the territorial development programme for the coastal area T.OP Kustzone is still largely in the concept phase. “Nearly all our partners are currently involved in similar innovative projects.”

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