The Frisian National Party (FNP) in De Fryske Marren municipality is set to vote against a sand mining facility in the IJsselmeer, which means that the divisive plans will not move forward.
Translation by Traci White
Jan Volbeda of the FNP told Omrop Fryslân, “We do not know what the consequences of gas extraction will be, and experts who have assessed the plans have no come to a consensus. That is reason enough for us to vote against it.”
Opponents of the facility, which would have been five kilometres offshore from the town of Oudemirdum, have been vocal about their concerns about noise and light pollution in a Natura 2000 designated area, a network of protected habitats across the European Union. The Leeuwarder Courant reports that the factory was meant to be in operation for at least 30 years and was projected to extract two million tons of sand annually.
Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has said that she will respect the council’s decision. The facility would have been operated by Smals, a sand mining company from Nijmegen. Stopping the plans in their tracks means that the municipality will miss out on 100,000 euros a year: Smals had agreed to pay De Fryske Marren five cents per cubic meter of sand extracted.
The FNP has seven seats in the municipal council, and along with five other opposition party members, there is enough support to vote down the sand extraction facility. CDA and VVD, with 12 seats, were in favour of the plans moving forward, but Volbeda says that he does not believe the disagreement will create discord within the coalition. Over the weekend, a member of the VVD faction had a brick thrown through the window of his home, an act which he believed was connected to his support for the sand extraction plans.
The vote was meant to take place in November, but the council wanted to await the outcome of parliamentary questions on the plans last year.