Dutch News

9 March 2014
Instead of raising a sea dyke the Dutch create new dunes and a beach

The Dutch have a new approach to protect the land from the sea. Instead of raising the Hondbossche sea wall dyke with the needed seven metres, dunes and a new strip of beach are created by spraying sand  just before the coast. The sand spraying ships started at the beginning of this month, but a local bird watching group lodged a complaint to stop the innovative sea defence project.

The Hondbossche sea wall dyke was once an example of the uncompromising Dutch fight against the sea. Instead of the usual wide strip of dunes a massive dyke of eight kilometres protects in the north of the province Noord Holland. But because the sea level rises and waves are increasing in force the existing dyke is not save enough anymore. It is the weakest point in the Dutch coastal defence.


Instead of heightening the dyke with the needed seven metres the Dutch decided for a new approach. A few special sand spraying boats spray sand in the sea, just before the coast. Through this a row of dunes and a beach of 200 to 400 metres wide will be created, that will protect the lower land for the next 50 years. During a future storm the new strip of sand will absorb the force of the sea. The Hondbossche sea defence dyke will not be dug up, but it will lose its function.


The makeover costs 200 million and needs to be finalised at the end of 2015. The Dutch will get an extra 8 kilometres of beach, making the Dutch coast line the longest in Europe. Although the sand spraying boats already started, the Dutch Council of State still needs to give its okay in May this year. A local bird watching group and a national nature conservation organisation lodged a complaint to stop the innovative sea defence project, because they think the new dunes and the new beach will damage unique nature. The massive sea wall is the natural habitat of huge numbers local and migrating birds.


But the ships already started spraying sand and according to a spokesman of the provincial water management department the birds will not suffer. ‘It is going to be much more beautiful. We replace rocks and asphalt by sand, and let nature do its work.’ In addition the birds will get new feeding ground north of the new strip. According to the bird watching group the efforts to compensate nature are insufficient, ‘it will also take years before the birds will find enough to eat, and they cannot do without food for a few years’. The spokesman of provincial water management department thinks that 5 million Euro nature compensation is more than enough, ‘many Dutch people will already think that this is outrageous. These animal can fly isn’t it?’


Source: De Volkskrant






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