120 extra hectares
Of all of the interventions being planned, the cross-border expansion is probably the most exciting. The Flemish and Dutch authorities have decided to expand the current Zwin plain by no fewer than 120 ha, of which 10 ha will be on Dutch territory. This will combat the silting up of the Zwin and add additional areas to the nature reserve as well as limiting the risk of flooding for the hinterland.
The expansion is being managed by the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (Agentschap voor Maritieme Dienstverlening) and the Flemish government Agency for Nature and Forests (Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos), in collaboration with the Province of Zeeland.
In order to expand the Zwin, a new dike will need to be built. After extensive preliminary studies and procedures, a dossier for the construction of the dike and the layout of the area has been drawn up. The application for an urban planning permit for the expansion was submitted in November 2014. On the Dutch side, it is expected that all of these procedures will be completed by March 2015.
At that point, the plan will become definitive. The call for tender is scheduled for the first few months of 2015. Work will then begin later in the year, after the breeding season, and is expected to take at least three years. The Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services has been appointed as principal for the project.