The chance that Belgium will approve a second naturist beach at the coast became less likely after a report by the Flemish Agency for Nature and Woodland, which said that the activities of naturists could be a risk to a rare bird. At present the Belgian coast has one naturist beach where naked sunbathing is permitted, at Bredene. But the beach is very popular, which led the Belgian Naturism Federation to request permission to open a second beach where naked sunbathing is permitted. Their attention fell on a little-used beach near Westende. “At that spot there is no construction or seafront overlooking the beach,” said the organisation’s president Koen Meulemans in Het Nieuwsblad.
However the nature agency raised objections with Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege, based on the presence at that spot of the crested lark (Galerida cristata), a rare bird which broods on the ground, and might be disturbed by what the agency called “subsidiary activities” related to the nudist beach, including visitors having sex in the dunes as well as leaving rubbish behind.
The federation said it also supported a fence closing off the dunes, with fines for anyone who trespasses. “As if people with no clothes on can’t get over a barbed-wire fence,” commented Bredene mayor Steven Vandeberghe.
The Brussels Times