Buitenring Parkstad: the unnecessary and destructive plan of a 4-lane highway
While population is decreasing and newborn business parks in the area are barely getting into use, politicians don’t seem to stop thinking in terms of growth and hold on to prestigious constructions plans… for, it seems, whatever might be the costs.
The “Buitenring Parkstad” is meant to be a highway that will surround an area with a high density of people, like a city ring. The arguments used for the project are to improve the economic position, connection and ‘life quality’ of the living areas of both Parkstad Limburg and the German region of Aachen just over the border. Besides the buitenring (outer ring), the plans also include enlarging the existing provincial ways N298, N299 and N300, and in Germany on the southern side constructing an entire new highway, the B258n, to connect the ring withthe existing L232. The construction of a smaller ‘binnenring” (inner ring) in the area has already started, just as the expropriation of private properties that would have to make way for the project is already taking place.
Parkstad in South Limburg, is a region that includes the municipalities of Heerlen, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Brunssum, Simpelveld, Voerendaal and Onderbanken. As a region is the first region in the Netherlands were there will be a decrease of people, a so called “shrinking municipality”. In the next 15 year the population wil go from 240.000 back to 170.000 people. It is unbelievable that the government is planning a new 4 lanes (!) road in the last bit of green area in this region.
Many civil groups, individual residents and organisations and even local politicians are against the plans, which will for example will lead to much more traffic noise for the area between Nuth and Brunssum, will cut the village of Amstenrade even in half, will go straight through the special environmental areas of Geleen-Beekdal and the Brussumer heide (both natura2000 and ESH zones) and destroy some of the holle wegen/ grubbes, – so ‘hollow ways’: ancient roads very specific for this area which are digged out deep and carry special biotops on both sides of the road. Such unique nature as in the eastern part of South Limburg can’t be compensated elsewhere. Besides, there has not been made any significant analyses that this 250 million euros project (fairly underestimated) would lead any of the by politicians argued benefits.
The regional environmental organisation Milieufederatie Limburg (federation of about a 100 enviromental groups in Limburg) works together with local environmental and civil society groups to protect this last living space for people, flora and fauna in the area. There is no need for this road to give space for cars. There are nearly no economic profits for this road. Milieufederatie Limburg even has offered an alternative route to the government, but full of their pretentious plans they refused to even examen this opportunity, because they already dicided ten years ago that they want a 4 stroke highway.
The Province of Limburg has recently published it’s final plan for public to react. All groups have done so, but after that it is time for ACTION!
More information (except for the German site, all in Dutch):
– the official site for the project of the province of Limburg
civil protest groups of the different municipalities/areas:
- Parkstad Limburg: http://www.buitenringnee.nl
- Brunssum: http//www.buitenring.net/
- Hoensbroek: http://www.buitenring.info/
- Amstenrade: http://www.amstenrade.net/
- Germany: http://www.b258nein.de/
- Environmental Federation of Limburg
- Milieudefensie (Dutch Friends of the Earth)