Maasvlakte 2 will be situated in the Voordelta, a coastal delta. This is a protected nature reserve that comes under the European Bird and Habitat Directive. The construction has consequences for plant and animal species. They lose habitat or find more difficulty obtaining food. In order to give nature the necessary space, the effects of Maasvlakte 2 are being compensated for by:
- instituting a seabed protection area, and
- creating a new dune area near Delfland.
The seabed protection area and dune compensation together ensure that the protected nature does not suffer a net disadvantage from the construction and use of Maasvlakte 2.
25,000 hectares of seabed protection area
To compensate for the disappearance of 2,000 hectares of seabed, a large seabed protection area is being instituted to the south-west of the land reclamation. This is an area of around 25,000 hectares, over ten times the size of the land reclamation. Seabed-disturbing fishery (bottom trawling) with an engine power of over 260 horsepower is prohibited here. This is advantageous for the seabed life, which in turn is a food source for birds. There are also a number of new resting areas for birds and seals on and around the sand flats.
A beam trawl is specially designed to catch the deeper-burrowing flatfish species, such as plaice, flounder and sole. The fishing gear is supported by two metal 'shoes' that are linked together by a metal beam, with heavy chains between them, which are dragged over the seabed. These chains may penetrate the seabed as deeply as eight centimetres: hence the reference to seabed-disturbing fishery.
35 hectares of dune compensation near Delfland
Once Maasvlakte 2 is completed, there will be more shipping traffic and this means more emissions. These may have a detrimental effect on the Voorne Dunes. These possibly detrimental effects on the dune areas are already being compensated for. To this end, a new 35-hectare dune area has been created along the coast to the north of Maasvlakte 2, between Hoek van Holland and Ter Heijde.
The work on this dune compensation was carried out simultaneously with the reinforcement of the Delfland coast. The Delfland coast is around fifteen kilometres long and runs from Hoek van Holland along to Scheveningen's southern port dam. This coastal strip is one of what are known as the weak links along the Dutch coast. Coastal safety in these 'weak spots' is being reinforced in the coming years.
The works on the coastal reinforcement started in the autumn of 2008 and will run until late 2011. The new 35-hectare dune area has been completed already.
The sea level will rise in the coming years due to climate change. The strength of the waves will increase too. This will have consequences for coastal safety in the future. There are six small coastal areas in the province of Zuid-Holland that will soon not be strong enough to protect the Dutch from the sea. In the future, they will no longer comply with the statutory safety standard that the sea defences must be proof against a storm surge that arises once in 10,000 years. The Zuid-Holland Coastal Vision project has the aim of durably reinforcing these weak links. The dunes will be made more robust and the beach will be widened. Besides this, the coast must also be an attractive area to live in and for work and recreation.