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Entrepreneur withdraws from Drenthe wind farm project over threats

Entrepreneur Ben Timmermans of company Avitec infra & milieu is withdrawing from Drenthe wind farm project De Monden due to a threatening letter he received. Groningen Provincial Deputy Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk (D66) also received a threatening letter regarding a wind farm project in the province. The police are investigating, Dagblad van het Noorden reports.

Timmermans received the threatening letter by post at his company in Nieuw-Buinen last week Wednesday. According to DVHN, it read: “What you have built up in 20 years, we will carefully break down and we will take our time with that. If you want to continue your business, stop the work for wind farmers within one week. If not? Then your company will no longer be viable.” Timmermans informed the 150 employees of his company that he is withdrawing from the Drenthe project on Wednesday morning.

This is the second time Timmermans and his company is targeted. Last month there were two incidents of asbestos being dumped at a construction site his company was working on in Delfzijl.

The Groningen Deputy received a similar letter on Wednesday, also by post. This letter is related to the construction of another large wind farm along the N33 near Meeden. The writers threaten with disruptive actions, not only in the northern provinces, but also in the Randstad, according to the newspaper. They threaten to disrupt traffic on the Zuidelijke Ringweg Groningen. “We are also able to create complete chaos at traffic junctions in the Randstad”, the letter read.

“If this intention is not reversed, we will be forced to take the acts of resistance against wind farms in Groningen and Drenthe to an even higher level”, the letter said, according to the newspaper. “In your eyes we are terrorists. We don’t think so. We are members of the resistance. We didn’t used to be. We were ordinary citizens. But they have been cheated by farmers and administrators. We will continue until the wind farm plans are off the table, because we realize that we have so much to lose and that we therefore have nothing more to lose.”

Prosecutor Johan Stoffels called the threats totally unacceptable, according to the newspaper. “People have opinions about everything. And that is allowed in this beautiful country. But there are rules, legal means and there is a legal demonstration right. But threats are so far over the line.”

The police confirmed to NU.nl that they are investigating the threats as well as other criminal offenses, such as the distribution of pamphlets with threats against officials.

Activists have been campaigning against the construction of wind farms in Groningen and Drenthe for years. It is not known who is behind these actions, according to NU.nl. In September last year the national coordinator for counter-terrorism and security NCTV said the actions are starting to take on “extremist forms”, especially in the northern parts of the Netherlands.

Opponents to the windmills believe, among other things, that the turbines will disturb the unobstructed view and tranquility in the region. This would lead to a decline in the quality of life and result in a deterioration of the area and fall in the home values, the opponents say, according to NU.nl They also believe that windmills will cause an increase in game- and bird deaths and entail health risks.