Defense and railways will help boost biodiversity

Defense and railways will help boost biodiversity
Defense and railways will help boost biodiversity

The federal government has plenty of properties where it can develop more nature. A green makeover of the military school in Brussels and the reconstruction of three station car parks are on the list of the BiodiversiScape project.

Nature is not in very good shape in densely populated and urbanized Belgium. The governments want to do something about this, even Europe has to. It is mainly the regions that are competent, but the federal government wants to do its share of the efforts. To this end, under the impetus of the FPS Environment, it taps into the great biodiversity potential of its properties and domains.

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In concrete terms, this concerns the properties of the Belgian Buildings Agency, Defense and the railways (NMBS and Infrabel). This is done in the project that was baptized BiodiversiScape and was presented on Thursday. ‘Every square meter counts’, says Federal Minister of Environment and Climate, Zakia Khattabi (Ecolo). There are quite a few: the collective patrimony is more than 250 square kilometers, on more than 3,700 sites.

Nature projects will be developed on a few selected federal sites.

defence looks at the site of the Royal Military Academy near the European quarter. It is located in a heavily paved area and its greening would bring it in line with a string of parks in the area, including the Cinquantenaire Park. The army also has plans for the surroundings of the Saffraanberg technical school in Sint-Truiden.

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The Directorate of Buildings her eye fell on the building of the federal police in Asse. The NMBS sees opportunities in the parking spaces of the stations of Zottegem, Ciney and Sint-Genesius-Rode, which are being redeveloped.

Because the station car parks often connect to the railway beds of the rail network operator Infrabel, another participant in the project, biodiverse corridors can be created. Infrabel also announces eco tunnels, insect hotels and grazing projects.

The government departments involved are also committed to integrating biodiversity into their spatial plans and during the construction or renovation of buildings.

Good example

By setting a good example, BiodiversiScape hopes to enthuse other government departments, but also organizations and real estate companies, for similar initiatives. They could also learn from the experience gained. ‘It will not be limited to the construction of a pond, a grove or a green roof. We want to develop regulations or guidelines and make them available to everyone,’ says Sabine Wallens, Biodiversity expert at the FPS Environment. The first phase will run until 2027.

The project is being announced ahead of a UN conference on biodiversity in Montreal, Canada, starting December 7. That is the natural counterpart of the climate peaks, as in Sharm-El-Sheikh recently. Minister Khatabbi will lead the Belgian delegation in Canada.

The article is in Dutch

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