'Green but realistic': new Flemish government unveils climate goals

'Green but realistic': new Flemish government unveils climate goals
Credit: © Belga

Flanders will pursue "realistic" environmental goals which will see green energy and mobility receive a million-euro boost and will put the region on track to meet international commitments, party leaders said.

Speaking at a press conference after the announcement of a new coalition agreement, Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) chairman Bart De Wever said that the government's environmental goals were "green but realistic."

A central measure will see the budget allocated to green mobility swell to €300 million, up from the €138 million budget of 2018, which representatives of the N-VA said would serve to improve cycle paths in Flanders.

The gross of the investment would focus on roads linking Brussels and Antwerp in an effort to combat traffic congestion between the two cities, which an additional billion-euro investment will also seek to tackle, HLN reports.

Lead government negotiator Jan Jambon, a member of the N-VA, said that Flanders would work to meet its international climate agreements and work to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, De Standaard reports.

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"We have enough in-house expertise to get the job done," Jambon said, announcing Flanders would also aim to double their solar and wind energy output by 2030, before issuing a call for greater engagement by saying Flanders could not "do it alone."

A goal to make Flanders "greener" through 10,000 extra hectares of forest and 20,000 of green areas by 2030 was also announced, in a rebrand of a previous measure which aimed to optimise the use of space in rural areas.

The measure —referred to in media as a "concrete halt," but rebranded a "construction shift," by Jambon during the press conference— would seek to tackle concerns that green areas in Flanders were being subject to expansive but disorganised and scattered private construction projects, with up to 6 hectares of open space transformed daily.

Additionally, party leaders also announced measures to make transport in the region greener, more expansive, and more punctual.

Hitting out at the agreement, Björn Rzoska, a green MP with opposition party Groen, said the new government's climate ambitions failed to even reach the bar set by European goals on climate.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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