Flanders invests in coastal safety and sea walls
After investing 23 million euro in coastal safety and sea walls via its agency for Maritime and Coastal Services MDK in 2011, the government of Flanders will be investing another 30 million euros this year. Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works Hilde Crevits CD&V announced these planned interventions at Wenduine yesterday. She did it in this coastal town, because next month will see the start of major works at this beach, that will be broadened by 35 metres without actually increasing the level of the beach. Minister Crevits once again stressed the importance of these works: “2011 was the hottest year ever. The coastal area is highly vulnerable to the forces of the sea and now more than ever we must take into consideration the consequences of climate change: prolonged periods of rain, high water levels and stormy weather. After the storms of the past few days it was evident how the works in Ostend contributed to protecting the coastline from the worst”. The dry beach at Wenduine, which is considered to be one of the more vulnerable sites in the plan, will be increased by 722,000 cubic metres of sand after the safety level dropped significantly after lashing storms during the winters of the past two years. Works are scheduled for completion by summer to ensure the safety of visitors to the beach during the high season. In Knokke-Heist the preparations have started to reinforce the beaches of Knokke and Duinbergen. “The government of Flanders signed a 358 million euro, 5-year contract with the temporary partnership of Flemish dredging companies 'Noordzee and Kust' for maintenance dredging in the coastal harbours of Ostend and Zeebrugge and the navigable passes of the North Sea. The dredging is vital to maintain the maritime accessibility of our ports and to accommodate large ships,” Crevits insists.