In an open letter, Boerenbond, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Natuurpunt, Netwerk Architecten Vlaanderen and the Flemish Association for Spatial Planning and Planning jointly sound the alarm. On Wednesday, the Flemish Parliament will vote on the decrees that should regulate the construction shift, but according to the organizations, the Flemish government is not ready to realize the construction shift as it currently stands.

    In the open letter, the signatories complain that the Flemish Parliament wishes to approve the new plan damage scheme virtually unchanged, making the construction shift unaffordable and unfeasible. “Local authorities already indicate that they have insufficient resources. By increasing the cost of reallocating from hard to soft destinations, governments will take even fewer planning initiatives to get our spatial planning right,” it sounds.

    In February, the Flemish government reached an agreement on the construction shift to ensure that the intake of open space is reduced to zero by 2040. Owners of land in residential reserve areas receive full compensation if their land is repurposed. A construction shift fund with an annual amount of 100 million euros will be set up for this purpose. The money comes from the Climate Fund.

    A ‘dome’ will be placed over the undeveloped residential reserve areas, estimated at 12,000 hectares. Only the municipal council can lift it, with a reasoned decision after consultation of the population. If they redesignate the area or make a release decision, the plan damage regulation will come into effect.

    “Even ongoing processes for repurposing and green-blue veining threaten to come to a complete standstill. However, this is urgently needed in function of more space for water, nature, food production, sustainable mobility, … Instead of accelerating the construction shift, this will just be paralyzing.”


    The Flemish government passes on the bill and responsibility to the local authorities and subsequent legislatures

    The Construction Shift Taskforce made some very concrete proposals to guarantee an affordable construction shift, but little was done with those proposals. “The Flemish government passes on the bill and responsibility to the local authorities and subsequent legislatures. Most local authorities are insufficiently able to cope with this task due to a lack of financial resources, manpower and expertise. A spatial transition such as the construction shift requires supra-local solidarity, because not every municipality has the same development opportunities.”

    “Reverse exceptions”

    The organizations ask that additional zone-foreign function changes be avoided and all kinds of exceptions be reversed because, according to them, they account for more than 50 percent of the additional space required. “An assessment framework must make it clear where zonal function changes are no longer possible and where they are, where a non-agricultural interpretation must be the exception. It is extremely important that the necessary instruments are also developed and resources are allocated to be able to implement such a policy. unroll.”

    “The Boerenbond, BBL, Natuurpunt, NAV and the VRP note that exactly one year after the completion of the work of the Construction Shift Task Force, the construction shift is still very uncertain,” the signatories conclude. “We therefore urgently ask the Flemish government to step it up a notch, because with the current voluntariness and non-commitment, we simply allow the assassination of our open space to continue and we postpone the invoice for us.”