A North Sea nature protection project has been given a welcome boost from the Dutch lottery. Two environmental groups received 8.5 million euro to protect the nature around wind farms.

Natuur & Milieu and Stichting De Noordzee were rewarded by the ‘Droomfonds van de Nationale Postcode Loterij’ for their project ‘De Rijke Noordzee’ (the Rich North Sea) that aims to protect marine life in and around wind farms in the North Sea.

In the North Sea, underwater nature has suffered damage as a result of human intervention and pollution, causing natural reefs to almost disappear. The project intends to develop new reefs that could serve as ‘nursery rooms’ and give biodiversity in the North Sea a ‘kickstart’.

Marjolein Demmers, Director of Nature & Environment, said:

“With the arrival of wind farms on the North Sea, there is a huge opportunity for natural reinforcement. Thanks to the participants of the Postcode Lottery, we can now take advantage of this opportunity. We increase the enthusiasm for wind turbines at sea and at the same time give the ecosystem in the North Sea a vital boost.”

The NGOs, also members of the European Environmental Bureau, will build living reefs in five different locations across the Dutch wind farms. The reef structures consist of hard materials, to which water species can attach themselves to, like oysters, horse mussels and tube worms.

Fishing is not allowed in wind farms therefore it is a good place to develop reefs that would remain protected from human activities.

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