“Nature measures must become an obligatory part of housing construction, according to the postulate of nature and environmental organisations and the largest construction companies in the Netherlands. They want nature to become a “natural component” of all new buildings.
“Specify this in the new coalition agreement,” write the authors of the manifesto “Building for Nature.””
National Nature Standard
Natuur & Milieu, NL Greenlabel and the Dutch Society for the Protection of Birds have drawn up the plan. Large construction companies such as Volker-Wessels, Ballast Nedam, BAM Wonen and Heijmans have supported the appeal to the new government. Together they plead for the introduction of a national nature standard consisting of three “building blocks”.
The first building block is nature measures on the house itself. For example, according to the organisations, new houses must have shelters as standard, such as nesting stones for species like house sparrows, swifts and bats.
Second block: Around the house, the parties supporting the manifesto want green roofs, green facades or nature gardens. “Green roofs provide better insulation and, like unpaved gardens, collect rainwater,” they explain. In this way, the city not only becomes greener, but water storage is also improved.
The third building block in the manifesto is “nature in the neighbourhood”. Every new housing estate must have enough parks and gardens, with connecting paths for animals in between.
Utility plan for the new government
According to the coalition supporting the plan, binding rules are needed to create a “level playing field”. “As measures for nature are currently not mandatory, ‘nature’ is usually not included in the tender requirements. This is very disadvantageous for companies that pay attention to sustainability and ecology in their tender,” explains Natuur & Milieu. “The new government can get right to work,” says programme director Rob van Tilburg. Top manager Onno Dwars of Ballast Nedam Development agrees that the sector “needs clear regulations”. “Whether a project strengthens or threatens nature in the city now depends on the efforts of companies and the requirements of a municipality,” he notes.
More green awareness due to the Corona crisis
According to the organisations and companies, the Corona crisis “has made people even more aware of the importance of nature close to home”. However, near-native biodiversity has been declining for years. For example, many bird species in cities are in poor condition.
Volksbank, its subsidiary ASN and ABN AMRO have also signed the manifesto, as have various academics, the architecture sector, the sustainability organisation Urgenda, the Dutch Mammal Society and the Butterfly Foundation (De Vlinderstichting).