Flemish government agrees to build new high-voltage line above ground after latest study

The Flemish government, including the Christian Democrats, has announced that it "accepts the content and conclusions of the report by German professor Westermann" in the Ventilus dossier. That report confirms the intendant's earlier conclusions that an above-ground high-voltage line is the best option, despite widespread resistance against the project since its conception.

"We have to move forward with this dossier," CD&V (Christian Democrats) minister Benjamin Dalle told Belga news agency. Further discussions on flanking measures, such as compensation for affected residents and the elaboration of radiation standards, will be held in the coming days.

After the new report by German expert Dirk Westermann, it was crystal clear for government parties Open VLD (liberals) and N-VA (Flemish nationalists): the Ventilus high-voltage line - intended to bring energy from offshore wind farms ashore - must be above-ground because this is simply the only workable solution. The only uncertainty left was the position of the Christian Democrat party, part of the Flemish majority coalition, which had previously spoken out in favour of an underground solution and, along with several local mayors, opposed the above-ground line until now.

"Professor Westermann confirmed that a solution with direct current underground is not feasible in the first ten years. We have to move forward with this dossier."

However, CD&V is now abandoning its opposition to the above-ground track. "Professor Westermann confirmed that a solution with direct current underground is not feasible in the first ten years", CD&V minister Dalle told Belga. "We have to move forward with this dossier."

After these latest developments, West Flanders mayors have decided to cease opposing the above-ground solution for the high-voltage line. This was announced on Thursday by Lieven Huys, mayor of Wingene, after a consultation with his fellow mayors.




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