Towards a New Policy for Climate Adaptive Water Management in Flanders: The Concept of Signal Areas

19 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 29 May 2014

Peter De Smedt

Centre for Environmental and Energy Law, Ghent University (Belgium); Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University (the Netherlands)

Date Written: May 9, 2014

Abstract

In Flanders, the Government has recently established an innovative policy framework to preserve the water storage capacity in flood-prone areas. In this context, the concept of ‘Signal Areas’ (signaalgebieden) has been created. These areas are still undeveloped areas with a hard planning destination (residential and industrial areas) located in flood-prone areas. The framework outlines in what way one needs to deal with the flood risk in these areas. The intention is to work with tailor-made solutions for each separate area. For this purpose, a comprehensive tool-box is available, such as land reparcelling, spatial destination or zoning swapping (bestemmingsruil), regulations regarding appropriate construction methods and land use in urban planning regulations or in public utility servitudes, and the application of a sharpened Water Test. The final objective is to create an efficacious, area-oriented adaptation strategy for climate-proof spatial planning. In this contribution, the author will provide an insight into the legal design of the above-mentioned concepts and instruments, how they can contribute to a stronger linkage between water management and spatial planning and therefore to a solid climate change adaptation strategy, as well as the factors of success and failure of this new policy framework.

Keywords: water storage policy, flood-prone areas, the concept of Signal Areas, spatial planning, instruments

Suggested Citation

De Smedt, Peter, Towards a New Policy for Climate Adaptive Water Management in Flanders: The Concept of Signal Areas (May 9, 2014). Utrecht Law Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, May 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437492

Peter De Smedt (Contact Author)

Centre for Environmental and Energy Law, Ghent University (Belgium) ( email )

Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, 25
Ghent, 9000
Belgium

Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University (the Netherlands) ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

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