‘Not protecting green areas in cities is criminal’

‘Not protecting green areas in cities is criminal’
‘Not protecting green areas in cities is criminal’

The Greens in the Brussels government react sharply to the socialist proposal to go ahead with the construction plans in several open, green spaces in the capital.

Alain Maron (Ecolo), the Brussels Minister of the Environment, reacts sharply to the socialist government members Rudi Vervoort, Nawal Ben Hamou (both PS) and Pascal Smet (One.brussels/Vooruit), who spoke out on Tuesday at an exclusive construction fair in Brussels. for building various green, open spaces in the capital. ‘Climate change and its dramatic consequences are forcing cities to protect and enhance their natural areas. Not doing that is criminal’, says Maron to The standard. ‘Every loss of biodiversity has a price.’

‘Creative solutions needed’

Maron sees other possibilities for meeting the high need for social housing in the capital than tapping into open spaces. ‘Building accessible and affordable housing does not have to compete with the choice to preserve biodiversity. More space can be created for housing and production activities in places that are already built-up’, he says. ‘Climate change forces us to look for creative and innovative solutions in that area.’

Maron also refers to a statement Tuesday by the Brussels socialists, who called the local resistance to their building plans ‘nimby behaviour’, not in my backyard. ‘Discrediting citizens who are committed to preserving the environment is not in line with reality. If anything is under pressure today, it is breathing space, nature and biodiversity.’

It was a striking plea from the socialists at the construction fair, especially because as Prime Minister (Vervoort) and with portfolios such as Housing (Ben Hamou) and Urbanism (Smet) they occupy key positions for the development of real estate in the capital.

Without exception, they mentioned building projects in green areas that have been delayed for years due to protests by local residents or nature associations. ‘The swamp of Wiels, White Women, the Donderberg, the Josaphat site. In total, this concerns more than 42 hectares of building land that are today paralyzed by a few. They abuse the environment as a pretext to block any public or private construction project,” said Prime Minister Vervoort. ‘I take the protection of biodiversity very seriously, but who is still talking about the social crisis today, the shortage of affordable housing? (…) The living environment is certainly an essential aspect, but it should not take precedence over the social and economic aspect.’

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: protecting green areas cities criminal

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