‘Over a thousand football fields’ classed as nature reserves in Flanders
Share article:
Share article:

‘Over a thousand football fields’ classed as nature reserves in Flanders

The Nature Reserve of Westhoek, located along the Belgian coast. Credit: Kira Verleye/Google Maps

Flanders has classed hundreds of additional hectares of land as a nature reserve, bringing up the count of protected areas in the region to more than 20,000 hectares.

Environment Minister Zuhal Demir announced that a total of 682.5 hectares of land had been classed as protected areas, in what she said amounts to a combined area of “more than a thousand football fields.”

In an online statement, the environment ministry said that, after clearing a backlog of files dating back to 2017, Flanders now had a total of 51 nature reserve sites spread over a total surface of 21,546 hectares.

The newly recognised reserves range from unclassed woodland to fields that have fallen into disuse and which could be transformed into a thriving environment for different species, according to the statement.

A number of nature associations will be tasked with jointly managing the reserves and improving their “quality of nature in the areas,” such as Natuurpunt, Voeren Regional Landscape or Limburgs Landschap, which will oversee 638, 11.9 and 32 hectares, respectively.

Sharing the announcement on social media, Demir said that the addition was a “win-win” for both people and nature, saying an accessibility plan would be worked on to ensure visitors can enjoy the areas without negatively impacting them.

Hunting animals, cutting plants, or any other actions which could alter the natural environment in any way are forbidden inside nature reserves.

The announcement comes as the Flemish government faces piling pressure from the associative and civil spheres over a perceived lack of ambition on their climate and environment goals, after the region scaled back its carbon-emissions 2030 target to 32.6%, as Brussels and Wallonia aimed for 40% and 55%, respectively.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB busses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...
Heirs of Michael Jackson demand that Belgian radio show ‘King of Pop’ changes name
The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called "King of Pop" changes its name, their lawyers ...
More than one billion coronavirus vaccines exported by EU
The European Union (EU) has exported more than one billion coronavirus vaccines globally over the past ten months, of which just under one-tenth was ...
SNCB brings free little libraries to stations
The Belgian railway company SNCB is adding free little libraries to its stations. The “book boxes,” as they’re called, allow passengers to grab a ...
Belgium in Brief: What Is Bouncing Back?
What do you think of when you think of a country "bouncing back" after a crisis?  Cambridge Dictionary says it is "to start to be successful again ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Café patron stabs manager after being asked to see proof of vaccination
A customer stabbed a café manager in Brussels on Saturday after being asked to show his Covid Safe Ticket (CST), according to Bruzz. Asking to see ...
Belgium to simplify administrative processes with ‘digital wallet’
The federal government wants to create an online "wallet" for all people living in Belgium which would bundle all official documents, from visas to ...
‘Start of infection wave’: Flanders to turn red on European map again
Flanders will turn red on the map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) again this week, as the daily average of new ...
Staff strike at application centre for asylum seekers
The staff of an application centre for asylum seekers in Brussels began a 24-strike on Monday morning, meaning that no one can apply for asylum there ...