Court of Audit: open data map of protected nature areas

If businesses, municipalities, provinces or other public bodies want to carry out a construction project, including road building, they must know whether their plans fall within a protected nature area or not.

If their activities damage a protected nature area, they must provide compensation be developing new nature elsewhere. All parties therefore need to know in advance what the consequences of their actions will be. The Court of Audit has recommended that a straightforward, up-to-date national map be compiled of protected nature areas. Such a map would also be of benefit to citizens: a simple map would help people check whether a local nature area is protected or not. Many activities are not permitted in protected areas. The Court of Audit has taken the initiative by presenting a map in its report Compensation for damage to nature areas. The map could be kept up to date by the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and the provinces. Provincial and national maps could be combined and published as open data online.