West Flemish companies raise the alarm bell from Ventilus, tomorrow mayor meeting

West Flemish companies raise the alarm bell from Ventilus, tomorrow mayor meeting
West Flemish companies raise the alarm bell from Ventilus, tomorrow mayor meeting

The non-profit organization refers in the first instance to the welfare law. “This states that it is an essential task of the employer to evaluate internal and external risks. There is too little clarity about the technology, the trajectory and the impact on health. When it comes to health, we cannot allow that people take risks. The intendant’s report also does not provide sufficient clarity on this. There is no legal framework and Elia is given complete free rein,” says INVOLTE spokesperson Ignace Vandewalle.

labor shortage

In addition, the companies are also concerned about operational reliability. “Our region already has a huge problem when it comes to labor shortages. It has become almost impossible to fill vacancies. And what are we going to do then? Make it even less attractive to come and work here? Who will still want to work under these power lines?”

“If this decision is made, several companies will have to leave anyway. It would be incomprehensible if local mayors and parliamentarians supported this”.

Solution: “Let the British pay”

The group of companies also proposes a solution. For example, they believe that the project should be underground anyway, but that the Belgian taxpayer or the energy consumer should not be the victim of this via his electricity bill. They refer to the European Green Deal, which they believe is the real reason why Elia wants a reorganization of the high-voltage grid. (Read more below the photo.)

“The immense reinforcements and expansions in West Flanders only need to be made to a limited extent for the landing of the renewable energy produced in-house. It is especially necessary because three cables will run to the United Kingdom in 2028, each with the capacity of a nuclear power plant. The three nuclear power stations to England will soon yield 200 million euros per year for Elia,” says Ignace Vandewalle.

“We don’t have to pay an economic, medical or financial price because offshore wind farms in the North Sea can pocket maximum profits. For our health and our local economy, all cables therefore have to be underground and on direct current. The additional costs for this must be borne by the renewable energy sector, Elia and the British. Not on our bill.”

Consultation with mayors

The call from the companies does not come by chance. On Friday, the mayors and the top of the Flemish government will meet in Bruges during a meeting to discuss the Ventilus project. A decision on whether the power line will be installed above ground or underground is not expected.

The Jambon government failed to reach an agreement on Ventilus in July. That new high-voltage line is to get the offshore wind energy ashore, but has been met with protests in a number of municipalities for years. In July, the government announced additional consultations with the mayors involved.

Read all about the Ventilus file here.

The article is in Dutch


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