Flanders: a pioneer in the field of innovative coastal protection
The Coastal Vision policy plan of the Department of Mobility and Public Works builds on the Coastal Safety Master Plan of the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, and examines various strategies to protect the Flemish coast in the long term.
The strategic plan suggests shifting the coastline seaward and raising and widening beaches. Different options are being considered for seaside resorts, such as raising the height of the seawall, planting dunes, or a combination thereof.
The draft for the strategic policy plan Coastal Vision is intended to protect our coast in the long term. The proposed interventions are feasible and also offer every opportunity to keep our coast attractive for everyone.
In the coming decades, additional coastal protection measures will be needed, especially in the ports of Ostend, Blankenberge and Zeebrugge. That is why priority future visions are being drawn up for these ports, opting for lock or storm surge barriers.
The strategic policy plan also includes an initial action plan for the 2024-2034 period, which contains 24 concrete actions for coastal protection, nature management, tourism, economic development, good drainage and the fight against salinization.
To enable the public to examine the plan and provide beedback and suggestions, a public inquiry will take place from February 20 to April 19. Based on the results of this inquiry, a updated plan will be submitted to the next Flemish Government for final approval.
The preliminary study and consultation process has been running for almost 2.5 years and is carried out by the Hoogtij(d) consortium, which consists of IMDC, ORG, Permanent Modernity, Arcadis and Common Ground. Blue Cluster has played a proactive role throughout the entire process.
Many stakeholders have contributed to and provided valuable input for this intensive process, including the coastal municipalities, scientists, water sports enthusiasts, nature associations, the Environment Department, the Province of West Flanders, VOKA and the Flemish ports.
A team of stakeholders consisting of the Department of Mobility and Public Works, the Department of the Environment, the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, the Agency for Nature and Forests, Tourism Flanders and the Province of West Flanders will further shape this collaboration.
There will be many more years of studies and investments that will interact in a fairly complex manner and that will certainly have an impact on the current functioning of the coast. Blue Cluster is also prepared to contribute to the development of a definitive plan.
Congratulations to all parties, a first milestone has been reached and we look forward to what's next.