“No more rubbish industrial land in 25 of our 42 municipalities”

“No more rubbish industrial land in 25 of our 42 municipalities”
“No more rubbish industrial land in 25 of our 42 municipalities”
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Following the elections of June 9, VKW Limburg held open discussions with the Limburg leaders of all political parties (CD&V, Groen, NV-A, Open VLD, Vooruit, Vlaams Belang and PVDA). “We call on the next governments to quickly make bold choices, to focus on a number of well-targeted spearheads and to break taboos,” says director Ruben Lemmens of VKW Limburg. Chairman Marc Warson: “Give entrepreneurs full confidence and space, so that they can fully realize their ambition and create prosperity.”

Afterwards, each delegation received a personalized ‘Powerbooster’ energy drink that should give them the necessary boost to fully support prosperity and reform. In addition to less regilitis, more legal certainty, a more active labor market and more competitive wage costs, the employers’ organization insists on more competitive and secure energy, a focus on innovation and lifelong learning, a more stimulating tax system and fit government finances and efficiency.

Director Ruben Lemmens and chairman Marc Warson of VKW Limburg. — © Karel Hemerijckx

Industrial lands

A stronger strategic infrastructure and smoother mobility is another Power Booster. “The fact that there is still a lot of room for industrial estates in Limburg must be strongly nuanced,” says Lemmens. “While our province still had 738 hectares of active industrial land available in 2018, this was only 412 hectares last year. However, even after the concrete stop, there will continue to be a need for space for companies.”

The industrial land still available is highly concentrated in Lommel, Genk-Bilzen, Tessenderlo-Ham-Beringen and Dilsen-Stokkem. “In 25 of the 42 Limburg municipalities there is zero or less than 1 hectare of land available for companies. However, a growing SME is often embedded in the municipality, and you cannot simply move it to another municipality if expansion presents itself. That is why we argue for the preservation of our strategic reserve industrial land, the activation of underused industrial estates, a better distribution of the active supply in Limburg, and the accelerated development of all planned industrial estates in the Albert Canal Economic Network,” says Warson.

In addition to the four center parties and the extreme parties (Vlaams Belang and PVDA), VKW Limburg also invited the greens for an open discussion. Green list leaders Dirk Opsteyn (center) and Bright Adiyia (second right) did the honors.

In addition to the four center parties and the extreme parties (Vlaams Belang and PVDA), VKW Limburg also invited the greens for an open discussion. Green list leaders Dirk Opsteyn (center) and Bright Adiyia (second right) did the honors. — © hbvl

Manufacturing industry is failing

Industrial policy is also a common thread throughout the VKW Limburg political memorandum. “Twenty years ago, production companies were responsible for 30 percent of the added value of the Limburg economy. By 2022, this had fallen to 19.1 percent. The energy crisis threatens to cause an additional blow,” says Lemmens. “The evolution towards a service economy is not bad, but Limburg is now below the critical threshold of 20 percent manufacturing industry that Europe sets for a healthy economy. A strong European Industrial Deal, a level playing field and competitiveness (wage costs) for our companies, a focus on STEM education and the civil engineering course at Hasselt University are more important than ever.”

A final Power Booster are the many family businesses. “They must be able to grow and professionalize more quickly,” Warson concludes.

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: rubbish industrial land municipalities

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