Nature in Flanders has the worst score in Europe, says EU report

Nature in Flanders has the worst score in Europe, says EU report
Credit: Belga / Dieter Slos

Belgium, and particularly Flanders, have serious challenges to tackle in terms of nature at diversity. A new report from the European Commission details how water and air quality as well as nature and biodiversity are lacking. However, Belgium receives good scores for its waste policy, reports De Standaard.

The biodiversity issue is 'particularly challenging. 95% of Belgium's protected habitats from the Natura2000 network are not in good condition and are 'in an unfavourable conservation status, the worst score of the EU, according to the report.

Over half of Belgium's protected forests aren't in good shape, which the Commission report considers a worrying development.

There are several reasons why nature in Belgium has received such poor scores, which include too much fragmentation and high environmental pressure due to nitrogen and desiccation.

Yet the researcher that wrote up the report for Belgium stressed that "we measure and report rigorously, which cannot be said of all member states. But that shouldn't be an excuse.'

No regulation for nature in private property

The European Commission pointed out that nature management in Flanders is done by the regional government or large NGOs. However, protecting privately owned nature is lagging behind. Managing private land will first be implemented by law in 2030.

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The Commission calls the delay 'legally problematic', as Flanders has no other measures to combat decline in those areas. By contrast, Wallonia has effective regulations, according to the Commission.

It is unclear how much protected nature is part of private property, according to the Agency Nature and Forests.

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