Nieuws - 13 juni 2013

Delta Plan for nature

In January 1916, the Zuiderzee coast was flooded by a heavy storm tide, leading to the decision to close this body of water by constructing the Afsluitdijk. The disastrous flood of 1953 led to the implementation of the Delta Works, while the floods in the winters of 1993 and 1995 prompted the development of the Delta Plan for the Big Rivers. Disasters and near-disasters work like a catalyst for radical actions.

I feel that it is no exaggeration to label the continuing decline of nature and landscape in our country as a disaster. Just flip through the pages of the Verkade albums of Jac P. Thijsse, or take a good look again at the old classroom illustrations of Koekkoek, but not for the sake of nostalgia. Much, indeed very much, of what is beautiful has disappeared. Why is it that we are able to act resolutely and effectively in our fight against the water but have failed in the battle to save the world around us?
Two weeks ago, Kees Bastmeijer, a lawyer specialized in nature, pointed out during the Victor Westhoff lecture in Nijmegen that it is time to move away from all these detailed discussions about the integration of different laws, fine-tuning of species listings and re-assignment of authorities. I agree wholeheartedly with Bastmeijer on this matter; we are in dire need of a Delta Plan for Nature. The advice from the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure - which I have referred to earlier - has been carefully thought out and sends us in the right direction. This report also takes an ambitious stand; however, the fire still needs a lot of stoking.