Majority council for feared ‘farmers’ windmills’ in the polder landscape of the Schermer

A majority of the Alkmaar city council agrees with the proposal for a ‘farmers mill’ in the Schermer. According to GroenLinks, Leefbaar Alkmaar, ChristenUnie and D66, the municipality lacks policy rules to reject the submitted applications. “No one wants things to become a mess in the beautiful Schermer, but we cannot close our eyes to future climate problems,” said council member Steven Smit during tonight’s city council meeting.

Image for illustration: one windmill per lot

The Schermer is known for its historic windmills. Dairy farmer Jan van der Vliet from Grootschermer wants to install a sustainable windmill in his yard. With him, there are four other farmers in the area who have submitted an application.

Not everyone from the Schermer is happy with those requests. The wind turbines are huge, about 20 meters high and several residents are afraid that the entire polder will soon be enough.

‘Protect our landscape’

One of the residents who objects is Sander Ottolander from Grootschermer. He lives about 800 meters away and believes that modern wind turbines will pollute the characteristic, flat polder. “Why isn’t our beautiful landscape being protected?”, he asked before NH News.

But a majority of the council believes that ‘farmers’ windmills’ are necessary in agricultural areas to support farmers in making them more sustainable. That’s according to tonight’s council meeting.

Maya Bolte of Leefbaar Alkmaar says she is against horizon pollution in principle, but that the energy crisis requires a different, sustainable approach. “We must use fossil energy sparingly and make better use of renewable energy.”

“What does the approval mean for those other applications that are currently pending?”

Ruud van Lier, councilor OPA

GroenLinks is also in favor of ‘farmers’ windmills’ in agricultural areas. “We have to help farmers and give them space instead of standing in the way of sustainability.” According to GroenLinks, the dairy farmer’s application meets the conditions of the Provincial Environmental Ordinance. “So we approve it. Done”, Roy Seignette responds.

Ben Bijl of BAS calls the support among residents important, but also says that “agricultural and economic interests must be taken into account”. Various council members, such as Ruud van Lier (OPA) and Christiaan Peetoom (VVD), state that the village councils were not consulted and that they were informed about the application too late. Van Lier points the proponents to the Alkmaar coalition agreement, which states that village councils and cores must be strengthened and consulted.

Agreements with citizens

According to Van Lier, it was very clearly agreed 7 years ago during the merger that there would be no wind turbines in the Schermer. “What are agreements with citizens still worth?”, he wonders during the meeting. “And what does the approval mean for the other four applications that are currently pending?”

Schermer mills – Peter Bijkerk

Ronald van Veen of ChristenUnie explains: “We have been sleeping for two years. Because no new policy frameworks have been established, there is therefore no possibility to reject the applications.”

“The national government and the province, together with LTO, ultimately determine the agricultural policy,” Maya Bolte of Leefbaar Alkmaar continues. “Village councils are not about a farmer’s business operations. The policy we are now basing ourselves on was made by the province two years ago. It states that these windmills are allowed in the polder.”

Motion for policy

To ensure that there is a policy for future applications, Maya Bolte of Leefbaar Alkmaar is also submitting a motion. In addition to the proposal, the motion was also approved by a majority of the council. “It is now about this application, but it will soon be about more windmills, so this motion is really necessary. It sounds annoying, but we are simply with a majority.”

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