Auditor of Council of State sides with Doel activists

Summary

Activist group Doel 2020, which is trying to stop the expansion of the port of Antwerp on the left bank, is hailing the state auditor’s opinion that the government’s development plans are problematic

End of Saeftinghe dock?

According to activists trying to save the town of Doel, scheduled to disappear in the left bank expansion of the port of Antwerp, development plans will have to be put on hold following an opinion handed down by the auditor of the Council of State.

According to the group Doel 2020, the auditor of the Council of State has found problems with the Flemish government’s regional planning programme for the area, which was already the subject of a case brought by Doel 2020. The group won its case on that occasion in 2013 and filed a second action against the government’s amended programme.

“If the auditor says the [programme] is unlawful, then I think we have seen the end of the Saeftinghe dock,” said Jan Creve of Doel 2020.

While awaiting the definitive ruling, the port stressed the economic importance of the Saeftinghe dock and the expansion of the left bank (pictured) in general. “We’re all in tears when a factory employing 1,000 people closes down. We’re talking here about an investment that will provide many times more jobs than that,” said Marc Van Peel, Antwerp’s alderman for port affairs and a member of the board of the Port Authority. “We will do everything possible to make sure these plans come to fruition.”

Photo: Wikimedia