The Flemish Government has finalized the route of the Ventilus high-voltage line, which is to bring energy from the offshore wind farms to land. In the new route, the government can limit the number of affected families to about 80. In Zedelgem, Torhout and Izegem, the line will go partly underground. “No one likes this decision, but leaving people in uncertainty for longer was not an option for me,” said Flemish minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA).
In recent months, efforts have been made to find a route that runs past houses as little as possible. The connection will start in Zeebrugge and will make as much use as possible of reinforcements and re-use of existing high-voltage connections. The new overhead connections are mainly located along the E403 between Izegem and Torhout (about 17 kilometers) and on the territory of Lendelede (about 4 kilometers). An underground connection is planned in Zeebrugge, Zedelgem, Torhout and (partly) in Izegem.
In total will 10 kilometers fall underground. About 80 buildings are located near the new overground route and approx 110 buildings are located near re-use or reinforcement of existing above-ground connections.
Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA) responds with satisfaction: “Nobody likes this decision, but leaving people in uncertainty for longer was not an option for me.” Demir emphasizes that there is “not an inch” of new connection above childcare centers or schools, and that there is an extensive compensation scheme will be requested from the federal government for the owners and companies involved.
The next step is to develop a Regional Spatial Implementation Plan (GRUP) and to issue an environmental permit. Oppose both decisions appeal procedures possibly, something that citizens’ movements and entrepreneurial platforms that have been closely following the file for years are undoubtedly keeping in mind.
“Underground connection impossible”
The government also has one overhead connection chosen at the company site along the E403 in Izegem, despite local protest. According to them, it was “technically impossible” to realize an underground connection. The Flemish government has asked Elia to bring existing high-voltage lines underground at lower voltage levels as much as possible or to dismantle them when Ventilus is built.
In total approx 147 kilometers existing air lines through West Flanders are eligible to be phased to disappear”. The demolition of a line can only take place when the operational operation of the grid is assured, whereby for some lines this can therefore only be carried out after the realization of Ventilus (in 2027).
LOOK ALSO. Last year, the Flemish government opted for an above-ground solution
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