Flevoland Province is taking state secretary Bleker to court in the hope of still getting the 240 million euros out of him that was to be spent on creating the Oostvaarderswold nature reserve. The determined province has its own land use planning policy, explains Fred Kistenkas.
State secretary Bleker does not see the use of the proposed reserve, but the province says it has already invested 140 million in nature development. 'I always use the Oostvaarderswold with my Wageningen students as a spectacular example of provincial land use planning policy', says WU lecturer in environmental law and Alterra lawyer Fred Kistenkas. 'When the new Spatial Planning Law was passed in 2008, the province of Flevoland decided: we are going to do it all ourselves, and establish the Oostvaarderswold. The provincial council wanted a green-blue zone right through the province, so that the red deer could move from the Ijsselmeer to Germany.
In order to achieve this, Flevoland first drew up provincial spatial planning regulations, in order to prevent municipalities such as Almere and Zeewolde from building in the area. This made it the first Dutch province to engage in spatial planning itself. This year the creation of the reserve, which is to function as a corridor between the Oostvaardersplassen and the Veluwe, will be taken further with the provincial adaptation plan (the PIP), which is in fact a provincial land use plan. The province makes use of all the new spatial planning instruments provided by the new law. The great thing about the new spatial planning law is that provinces are free to arrange it all themselves and are no longer dependent on reluctant municipal councils and their land use plans. That is why it is such a spectacular example in my lecture on environmental law. At last a province that has certain ambitions can impose its ideas on the municipal councils involved.
I can imagine that for this reason, Flevoland doesn't want Oostvaarderswold just cancelled at the drop of a hat. As a lawyer I specialize in spatial planning, and not in contracts and money. I don't know exactly what contracts have been signed by Bleker and the province, or what has been pledged by central government. So I can't predict who will win the case.'