The ABS points out that it is in everyone’s interest, not just in the agricultural sector, that everyone do their part to help withstand the effects of climate change. “A ban on lawn irrigation and car washes would have sent a clear, albeit symbolic, message to citizens that there are more beneficial applications for rainwater in times of severe drought,” says Hendrik Vandamy, president of ABS. “Fortunately, many citizens realize this, judging by the many withered meadows and dusty cars.”
At the same time, ABS objected that Minister Demir appeared in the media with the story that 1,595 hectares of open space were added while only 646 hectares had disappeared. “It seems as if Flanders has suddenly become much larger. But that is not it. (“Technical correction” of land was used in the port of Antwerp, ed.). In administrative jargon, this creative use of numbers is called. This trick was also used in the past, think Only in the famous Bosatlas of Mrs. Schauflege. It is administratively correct and kind to the ignorant citizen, but structurally nothing changes. Every day, more than 7 hectares, mostly agricultural land, disappear under a beautiful quay”, says Vandami.
Agriculture adapts as much as possible: favorable crop options, the use of more drought-resistant varieties, etc. However, the sector continues to suffer the consequences of long droughts, according to the agricultural organization. The most famous of these are low yields and poor nutrient use. Let us now make irrigation one of the solutions to deal with these consequences.”
But irrigation is often accompanied by more expensive systems. And many farmers are willing to make these investments in additional rainwater storage capacity. They have been encouraged to do so through all kinds of positive government actions. But it is incomprehensible that it is the same government that has thwarted so many great initiatives by way of the permit game.” As an example he points to the construction of buffer basins for which a series of urban planning permits are needed. The ABS chief explains that “if a permit to build is approved, often The farmer in question faces a refusal to obtain a permit to be able to wisely treat the released soil.” Furthermore, this farmer does not come across alone.” West Flanders Province took the lead in 2019 to build buffer ponds with private partners. Now 3 years later, only one of these things has been achieved.”
You can’t get a permit to build a water barrier, but building permits to cut down forests and strengthen open spaces were and still are a problem, according to ABS. “The consequences of this building frenzy have been clear for a long time now. Aquifers are being replenished less and less. In winter we experience floods and in summer all these buildings are partly responsible for the warming.”
All this sadness also produces winners, it sounds a bit ironic. “With large construction projects, nature almost always has to offset nature and intrusion obligations are minimal. Costs saved for infiltration techniques are spent on nature’s compensation. Not only necessary items, it seems to have become popular among wealthy industrialists to purchase land and turn it into something that should resemble nature.” This is nothing more or less than a modern way of trading hateful indulgence.”
Many of nature’s plans date back a quarter century ago. Species go and other species come. Climate change is here and it will change our nature. That’s why ABS believes it needs an update to current reality, “rather than spending a lot of money on it to maintain a particular species that we know can’t stand higher temperatures.”
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