Written Question: Illegal clearing of 5000 m² of trees at Belgian Natura 2000 site (Sonian Forest)
(Source: European Parliament)
Question for written answer E-001812/2021
to the Commission
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.
- Is the Commission aware of this infringement of the Habitats Directive?
- What steps will it take to ensure that the Belgian authorities respect all their obligations under the Habitats Directive for this area?
- 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?