Physically, the construction of Maasvlakte 2 is having an effect on the coastline of the Netherlands. The Maasvlakte 2 Project Organization has therefore commissioned research into the effects of the land reclamation on the protected nature of the North Sea coastal zone and the Waddenzee, among other things. It appears from this that Maasvlakte 2's construction will have no substantial effects on the North Sea coastal zone or the Waddenzee area.
The question was: will the construction of extra land off the coast of the province of Zuid-Holland have an effect on the North Sea coast or in the Waddenzee as regards:
- the transport in and away of silt
- the numbers of fish larvae?
The studies, which took place in 2007, showed that the construction of Maasvlakte 2 would have no substantial effects on the North Sea coastal zone or the Waddenzee area. Measurements were repeated in 2009. The differences between the reference measurements in 2007 and those in 2009 are very slight. Developments will be monitored closely during the remaining period of sand extraction and thereafter.
The research followed two tracks. The first was a study in which complex computer calculations were conducted on the transport of silt, nutrients (foodstuffs) and fish larvae to and in the western Waddenzee. The transport takes place via the coastal river, over 10 km wide, in which the water flows mainly in a northern direction. A large part of the Rhine water and the silt present in it flows via the coastal river northwards along the coast in the direction of the Waddenzee and the German Bight.
In the second research track, intervention and effect chains were drawn up, based on workshops and advice from experts. These chains formed the basis for the Land Reclamation Applicable Assessment (PB) and determined what calculations were necessary. These concern Maasvlakte 2's influence on the protected species in the Waddenzee, for example via food chain and habitat.
The results of the studies were incorporated in the Land Reclamation Applicable Assessment, Waddenzee and North Sea coastal zone sub-report. The Land Reclamation Applicable Assessment is a legally required study and forms part of the decision-making process to do with the construction of Maasvlakte 2.