Environmental association points out flaws in greenhouse expansion plan

A grower of greenhouse vegetables wants to expand with greenhouses in the outskirts of Etten-Leur. The municipal executive agreed, but an environmental association did not. They objected. The Supreme Court agreed with the environmental association on several points. The plans must go back to the drawing board.

The environmental association successfully pointed out omissions in the plans, which, among other things, meant that when the growers expanded from 3 to 9 hectares, more than 8 hectares of greenhouses could be built. The amendment plan allows full development of the building area with greenhouses. This is contrary to the applicable planting regulations for the 'Buitengebied' (Outside Area).

Het Nieuwe Telen
Another point of concern for the environmental association is an increase in nitrogen emissions during expansion. Nearby Natura 2000 areas would be harmed by expansion. The college points out that the grower, who grows lettuce, cucumbers, and vine tomatoes, will be using Het Nieuwe Telen (The New Cultivation), which would not increase emissions despite the expansion.

The AERIUS calculations assume an annual energy consumption of 290,000 m3 of natural gas per hectare of glass with Het Nieuwe Telen, but it follows from a report by Wageningen Economic Research, the environmental association points out that the average amount of natural gas use per year is 355,000 m3 per hectare of glass. There is no certainty that the emissions will still be higher because cultivation according to the principles of Het Nieuwe Telen is not included in the planning regulations. Reason for the Supreme Court to agree with the environmental association on this point, too.

The council also did not correctly determine the reference situation. The land purchased for construction would be used as pasture/grazing land for cattle. According to the Supreme Court, this is not completely certain. Merely taking an aerial photograph is not enough. The photograph is also missing from the file.

According to the September 6 ruling, the council is given six months to rectify the defects in the spring 2021 decision.

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