Belgium is to take legal action against France over plans for an offshore wind farm that is expected to damage hopes of a major post-Brexit project.
The Belgian authorities said the plans to build 46 turbines as high of the Eiffel Tower off Dunkirk puts a spanner in the works for the creation of a new ferry route to Britain. They have accused the French of a high-handed dismissal of their concerns in the row that threatens to wreck relations between Brussels and Paris. The Dunkirk wind farm is meant to produce electricity for about one million people when it starts in 2027.
It is expected to help French President Emmanuel Macron hit his goal of generating 40 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.
He is under pressure to build more wind turbines after government advisers in the High Council said France is expected to miss its greenhouse gas emissions targets.
France has positioned itself as a world leader in the global fight against climate change.
Belgium argues that the wind farm, which is situated seven miles from the coast, would be a tourism-damaging eyesore and a potential threat to radar systems at the Koksijde Belgian Air Force base near the French border.
Officials also believe it would block a historic ferry route that linked the port of Ostend with dover for more than 150 years.
The route was also used by ferries travelling between Ostend and Ramsgate.
Dirk Declerck, the port’s chief executive, believes additional red tape caused by Brexit is causing delays in Calais.
He believes this has paved the way for Ostend to reopen to British traffic.
“We don’t see Brexit as a threat, we see it as an opportunity,” he said.
But Mr Declerck fears that opportunity could be snatched away by the development of the French wind farm.
Belgian authorities have requested that the project be placed at least ten miles from the coast so ferries can use their traditional coastal routes.
They say they have been trying to negotiating with the French for two years but with little success.
Belgian justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has announced plans to file a lawsuit to halt the project.
He plans to file his claim before Lille’s administrative court and also expects to submit a complaint to the European Commission.
Mr Quickenborne said: “Belgium should have been involved when the construction zone was designated.
“But it didn’t work out that way.
“It’s as thought your neighbour planted a tree in front of your garage.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding