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Flemish town seeks prosecution over brick garden

Authorities in the eastern town of Genk (Limburg) have handed a dossier relating to a garden that has been virtually completely covered in Flemish bricks to public prosecutors.  The town authorities intend to act against residents who fail to include sufficient porous areas in their gardens.

Genk hopes to raise awareness among citizens for the need to allow rainwater to seep into the soil.  “Hardening surfaces with bricks or gravel can lead to flooding and less groundwater. That also means less potable water” says Mayor Wim Dries.  “We want to convince our citizens”.

Flemish bricks today cover the entire front garden, the space at the side of the house and parts of the back garden of the house in Genk.  The owners had no permission to do this and haven’t stuck to the rules.  As a consequence the town authorities have decided to involve the prosecutor.

Genk is on a crusade against hard surfaces and also wants more greenery in the town.  It hopes local residents will follow the town’s lead.  “Hard surfaces mean rainwater doesn’t enter the soil and the sewers overflow” says the mayor.  “We’re asking residents to avoid hard surfaces”.

Hard surfaces in excess of 80 square metres require building permission.  “When we notice infringements, we first send a warning and ask people to comply with the rules.  If there is no response, we get a police report drawn up and dispatch it to public prosecutors for action”. 

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