The Flemish government gave its approval in principle to the Coastal Vision strategic policy plan on Friday. This includes a strategy to gradually adapt each zone on the coast over the next hundred years, in order to protect Flanders against flooding from the sea, despite the rising sea level – “whether it rises by one, two or three meters”. The Mobility & Public Works department said this in a press release.
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With Coastal Vision, the Flemish government is investigating how the coast can be protected against further sea level rise in the long term. The strategic policy plan builds on the Coastal Safety Master Plan, which contains a series of measures to protect the coast against heavy storm surges and a 1,000-year storm until 2050. That plan still takes into account a rise in sea level of up to 30 centimeters.
The intention is that in the long to very long term the coastline will be moved an average of 100 meters seaward by raising and widening the beaches. “Optimal timing and phasing will be further developed in the coming years in the first action plan 2024-2034. We also leave freedom of choice to future generations,” says Edward Van Keer, Coastal Vision project leader at the department. Flemish Minister of Public Works Lydia Peeters emphasizes that the proposed interventions are feasible and “offer every opportunity to keep our coast attractive for everyone in the long term”.
Many additional coastal protection measures will be needed in the ports of Ostend, Blankenberge and Zeebrugge in the coming decades, it is said. In Zeebrugge, for example, the outer port will have to be raised in many places over the next 35 years.