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Belgian private-sector to cover offshore damage

BELGIUM: Belgium's offshore wind industry has signed an agreement with the Belgian government to set up a compensation fund covering environmental damage caused by current and future offshore projects.

Belwind is part of Belgium's offshore capacity
Belwind is part of Belgium's offshore capacity

The fund will amount to €1.12 million over the next 20 years, with each plant contributing up to €70,000 a year. The deal was done with secretary of state for the North Sea, Bart Tommelein.

The annual payment will depend on the number of turbines operating, and will therefore reduce as more projects come online. Currently, Belgium has three operating projects and five under development.

The money will mainly go towards buying equipment that can operate between the turbines, to ensure the authorities are ready to act in case of incident, whether caused by third parties or related to the wind farm.

A third party will have to pay if found to be at fault. But the fund would mean the authorities can respond quickly and effectively, which can be very important in the case of an environmental disaster, said the ministry.

The fund will also be used to support biodiversity in the North Sea, including research programmes and measures to protect the marine environment.

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