Garden dormouse halts work to build new VRT Building

Long-suffering plans for a VRT Building encountered a fresh obstacle this week after concern about a protected species on the wider prospective building site.  Preparatory work for the construction of a new VRT Centre behind the existing one was halted temporarily.  The official reason is a lack of clarity with the regard to the measures that need to be taken in connection with the protected garden dormouse.

Fortunately for the Flemish public broadcaster and its workers that are looking forward to new accommodation the lack of clarity has now been resolved.

Work on preparations for the construction started on Wednesday.  A new access road for work vehicles is being constructed but that meant several trees in the Georgin Wood, the habitat of the protected garden dormouse needed to be felled.  Environmentalists of Greenpeace and members of a local residents’ committee fearing for the survival of the garden dormouse protested.

They pointed to the fresh extinction wave that is threatening the mouse: “We can’t afford to sacrifice protected species on economic grounds and certainly not for construction site traffic.  We are asking the Brussels government and the municipality of Schaarbeek to review their plans in order to protect the dormice” they said.

Activists argued that rules surrounding the felling of trees were not being observed either.

Officials from the Brussels environment agency attended the scene to decide whether or not the work needed to be halted.

VRT says the work was temporarily halted, but that the licences necessary to proceed have been issued by the environment agency.  Because there was suddenly some unclarity about specific measures the agency revisited the issue.  An ecologist working for Nature organisation Natuurpunt appointed by the agency has meanwhile confirmed all agreed arrangements have been met including those regarding the garden dormouse.  VRT expects the work to be able to resume shortly.

Greenpeace activists outside VRT in Brussels

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