Written Question: Illegal clearing of 5000 m² of trees at Belgian Natura 2000 site (Sonian Forest)

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted:

Question for written answer E-001812/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Sara Matthieu (Verts/ALE)

Subject: Illegal clearing of 5000 m² of trees at Belgian Natura 2000 site (Sonian Forest)

The Sonian Forest in Belgium is an area of unique ecological and historical value, which is accordingly protected as a Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation and a UNESCO world heritage site. In 2020, the Belgian authorities started felling trees in a ​5000 m2​ area in Sint-Genesius-Rode (next to Sint Michielsdreef) in order to build an unauthorised car park next to an existing one(1). The project is closely linked to a plan to convert a forester’s cottage into a restaurant or cafeteria.

In spite of the requirements laid out in Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, neither an appropriate impact assessment, a public consultation or an assessment of alternatives have been carried out.

  1. Is the Commission aware of this infringement of the Habitats Directive?
  2. What steps will it take to ensure that the Belgian authorities respect all their obligations under the Habitats Directive for this area?
  3. Will the Commission ensure that the car park is dismantled and that all the trees that were felled to make way for it are replanted?

(1) See: https://www.comite-quartier-espinette.com/

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