As a result of climate change and the problems it will cause, cities must protect and expand their green spaces instead of planning to place more buildings on them, said Brussels Environment Minister Alain Maron on Wednesday.
Maron's statements followed a proposal by the socialists in the Brussels Regional Government to redevelop 42 hectares of green space into built-up areas, according to reports in De Standaard.
"A discourse that discredits the fight for the environment and the fight of committed citizens is beyond reality," Maron's spokesperson told Belga News Agency. "Places to breathe, nature and biodiversity are under pressure."
On Twitter, Maron added that "to ensure quality of life and protect everyone in the context of climate change, cities must adapt and protect and expand natural areas. It is possible to create housing without harming the environment."
Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, alongside his State Secretary for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou and State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet, have all argued in favour of building projects in green areas that have been delayed for years due to protests by local residents or nature associations, such as the swamp fields of Wiels, Witte Vrouwen, the Donderberg and the Josaphat site.
According to Maron, creativity is needed to reconcile green space with the creation of additional housing – using zones that have already been urbanised to start with. "Not only does the loss of biodiversity come at a price, but so does the loss of quality of life and health."