The construction of Maasvlakte 2 is having an effect on nature, including some protected bird species. This effect is being compensated for through the institution of a seabed protection area with reserves in the Voordelta. The use of Maasvlakte 2 will lead to an effect on the Voorne dunes due to an increase in air pollutants, mainly from shipping. This possible effect is generously compensated for by the construction of 35 hectares of new dunes off the coast of Delfland.
What effects on nature are to be expected?
- Effects on nature through the presence of Maasvlakte 2
Research has revealed that the land reclamation will have the following effects on the protected nature in the Voordelta: Loss of around 2,500 ha of permanently flooded sandbanks on the seabed, with a depth from 0 to -20 metres (referred to as 'habitat type 1110' in official publications). Reduction in the habitat and/or foraging area of three protected bird species: the common scoter and the sandwich and common tern. These effects are permanent and are therefore being compensated for. This has happened through the institution of a seabed protection area with resting areas in the Voordelta.
- Effects on nature through the use of Maasvlakte 2
The use of Maasvlakte 2 will involve more shipping. Extra ships mean extra air pollution, and this has a detrimental influence on nature in the dune areas in the immediate vicinity, mainly due to the extra precipitation of nitrogen. This undesirable effect is therefore compensated for, by means of the construction of new dunes off the coast of Delfland, to the north of Hoek van Holland.
- Effects on nature through sand extraction at sea
The great majority of the sand needed for the construction of Maasvlakte 2 is being extracted from the North Sea between 2008 and 2013. The possible effects of this sand extraction on nature have been extensively investigated. The conclusion of the study is that the water will become cloudier, temporarily and locally. This may have effects on the food supply of five protected bird species, which could lead to a reduction in the population of these species in the period between 2009 and 2011. The possible effect is only temporary and significantly smaller than the natural fluctuation. The population can recover itself fully afterwards.
The land reclamation has no far-reaching effects on other protected species in the Voordelta. Neither are there threats to the other protected habitat types, such as mud flats and salt marshes. Nor will the presence of Maasvlakte 2 have effects on the strictly protected natural values in the Natura 2000 areas situated further away, namely the Solleveld & Kapittel dunes, Haringvliet, Grevelingen, Oosterschelde, the North Sea coastal zone or the Waddenzee. Maasvlakte 2 will indeed have a slight effect on the current patterns and silt transport along the Dutch coast, but the natural values in the Natura 2000 areas will not suffer from this. The effects of Maasvlakte 2's presence will also be negligible for Goeree and the Natura 2000 areas lying closer to Maasvlakte 2. Other effects of the sand extraction and the use of the future port and industrial area as described on this site are negligible too.
New nature at Maasvlakte 2
Not only will the nature that disappears or suffers through Maasvlakte 2's construction be generously compensated for, there is room for nature in Maasvlakte 2 itself. This will mostly be noticeable in the seawall, a newly created row of dunes that surrounds the new port area. Besides this, flora and fauna will develop spontaneously on the unused areas. This will be looked after carefully by the Port of Rotterdam Authority.