Public protest over felling of 400 trees to make way for new administrative centre
Share article:
Share article:

Public protest over felling of 400 trees to make way for new administrative centre

The planned new administrative centre © Jaspers Eyers Architects

Local residents in the centre of Brussels have protested at plans to fell 397 trees for the construction of a new state administrative centre (RAC) on the Avenue Pacheco.

The new centre, replacing the old administrative centre behind Rue Royale, will comprise not only government offices – the Finance Tower at Botanique will form part of the complex – but also apartments, shops and a school. The new RAC promises to bring new life to what is essentially an urban desert at present, but the problem of nature has raised local hackles.

The plans, signed by the Brussels city council and the region’s environmental agency, include the removal of 397 trees from what is currently a listed park in the city centre. The existing park stands on the roof of an office building, and for the new construction those trees will have to be removed to allow works to be carried out.

The developer has promised to replace those lost trees with 377 new trees on completion of the project. However local residents complain that the replacement is inadequate.

The trees have an important function in protecting against the creation of a heat-island,” said Anne Leemans of the local action committee Bel-Air, speaking to Bruzz.

An urban heat island is an area of a city where the temperature is substantially higher that surrounding rural areas, as a result of human activities. One of the major causes is the change of surface areas, most notably the paving over of land. Effects include the disturbance of rainfall patterns, and the increase in air pollution.

But the eventual replacement of the existing trees presents problems of its own, she said. “They want to replace these trees with low-branched trees, but also with exotic species, which attract a different kind of fauna – different insects, birds and so on.” Low-branched trees are more commonly used in gardens for ornamental purposes. The new trees planned include 204 plane trees, nine gingko or maidenhair trees and ten sequoia-type trees.

The local action committee is calling for the city and the agency to review the plans, but they have already done so once, adopting certain changes. The chance of them doing so again, says Bruzz, is minimal.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium in Brief: A Consultative Committee Sequel
Sequels often have a lot to live up to and when it comes to movie franchises, it gets difficult to keep up the hype once you get towards the final ...
25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Brussels Airport becomes shareholder in SkeyDrone
The Brussels Airport company has signed an agreement to become a 50 percent shareholder in SkeyDrone, a subsidiary of skeyes, the Belgian Air ...
Two former Belgian top executives plead guilty to bid manipulation in the US
Two former Belgian top executives of the security company G4S have pleaded guilty in the US to bid rigging, according to reporting from De Tijd. ...
8 arrested in Belgium and Luxembourg for fraud and social dumping
On Tuesday, around 80 police investigators and 26 social investigators made a series of simultaneous arrests in Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg as part ...
More than 5,500 people took part in the citizens’ consultation on road safety
Over 5,500 people took part in a citizens’ consultation on road safety for Belgium between July and October, according to Belga News Agency. The ...
Coronavirus: Nearly 1,000 patients hospitalised, 80 admissions a day on average
Between October 10 and 16, an average of 3,151 people were infected with Covid-19 every day, according to figures from the Sciensano Public Health ...
‘More concern and false impressions’: colds are not worse than before, experts say
While it seems like cold viruses are hitting especially hard this autumn, with more severe and longer-lasting symptoms, doctors are saying that this ...