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Residents Concerned as Dutch Air Force Plans to Expand and Increase Fighter Plane Activity

AFPE A fighter plane at Leeuwarden air base

NOS Nieuws•gisteren, 21:45

Residents of De Peel Air Base are concerned. Now the air base near Venray, which has been closed for years, looks peaceful, but in the future 2,300 fighter planes may take off and land here every year. And that may also include Apache and Chinook helicopters.

About 25 kilometers further north, at Volkel air base, they know what that can mean: “When an F-35 starts, you can forget about a telephone conversation,” says Jos Tannaer of the Peel Platform village council. “You can’t have a conversation in the garden. Sometimes the TV has to be turned off because you just can’t hear it anymore. It scares children awake, you name it.”

A note from outgoing State Secretary Van der Maat of Defense has also caused unrest elsewhere. In it he writes that the defense needs more space: not only for its fighter jets, helicopters and drones, but also for barracks, ammunition depots and training areas where combat can be simulated.

ANPE An Apache helicopter at Gilze-Rijen air base

Defense emphasizes that these are still preliminary plans, final decisions on expansion are up to a new cabinet.


Resistance is growing, especially around the airports. This makes sense because the noise of the aircraft will be heard in the wider area.

Mayor Uitdehaag of Venray coordinates the resistance of thirteen municipalities around De Peel airport. According to him, the Royal Netherlands Air Force focuses too much on North Brabant and North Limburg. “If you look at the movements of defense in the air, this area with Volkel and Eindhoven is already quite overloaded and with this base the nuisance in the air will only increase much more.”

The province of North Brabant supports him. Deputy Dirken points out that the province already has many defense sites compared to the rest of the Netherlands and that the province has many other goals that require space: housing construction, water, energy production, extensive agriculture and nature restoration. “Defense comes on top of that.”


The provincial government is also concerned in Zeeland, writes Broadcasting Zeeland. The provincial government understands that the armed forces need more space, but is not interested in new landing sites and low flying areas for helicopters. The sixteen Natura 2000 areas would suffer a lot from this.

“Training areas with digging options” cannot be constructed in those areas. “This would result in irreparable damage,” the provincial government said.

And if Defense wants to store ammunition and fuel in the ports of Vlissingen and Borssele, this will have consequences for other activities in this Sloe area, such as the production, storage and transport of hydrogen and ammonia.


Outgoing State Secretary Van der Maat says that many Dutch people understand that defense must expand. “That is necessary. We are not talking about that. The only question is where. The Northern Netherlands thinks: well, that can be done in the south and the South Netherlands thinks: that can be done in the north.”

Citizens and governments can let us know what they think of the plans until Monday. “That is certainly not a wash,” says Van der Maat. “We call on everyone to submit their views.”

2024-02-09 20:45:22

#Defense #expansion #plans #lead #unrest #among #citizens #municipalities #provinces

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