About ten days ago, a Flemish minister announced an ongoing study to determine the viability of establishing an artificial island off the shore of the seaside resort of Knokke-Heist. The goal is to protect the coastline from storms as well as sea level rise.
The Belgian region of Flanders presented a vast coastal protection plan in 2014, called Masterplan Vlaamse Baaien (PDF file). The construction of the artificial island near Knokke-Heist, announced by the Minister of Mobility and Public Works Ben Weyts, should be effective in 2020, if studies demonstrate the reliability of such an initiative.
“We have observed that since 1927 the water has increased by 1.4 mm per year. Since the 90s, it is 4.4 mm per year. And if we want to protect the coast until 2100, we must take additional measures” says the Minister.
The future island was designed to cover an area of 40 hectares, and should extend in the future over nearly 450 hectares, or 4.5 km² (for a length of 6 km) and would be located 1.2 km from the coast. . The project is to be taken very seriously since the region of Flanders has just released the sum of 8 million euros to finance the preliminary study.
“Importing sand protects the Coast until 2050. But with this new plan and an island, we can protect everything until 2100 with a longer term vision” explains Belgian Secretary of State Philippe De Backer.
Belgium therefore wishes to follow in the footsteps of its Dutch neighbour, which has already built four artificial islands, for other uses, namely Pampus with a fort (0.03 km²), Neeltje Jans, a natural park (2.85 km² ), or by far the largest, Flevoland with its 2412.30 km², the twelfth province of the country. The Netherlands, in the capital Amsterdam, has even built a residential area entirely on the water, housing 16,000 people since 2011: IJburg, a veritable small floating city.
Sources: Nautical News – RTL Info