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Landfill rehabilitation – field visit in Flanders

Peer review
By Platform
People visiting a gypsum landfill  redeveloped into a solar park

On 6 and 7 September 2022, the Policy Learning Platform organised an onsite follow-up visit to the peer review on landfill rehabilitation, held for the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald (Germany) in July 2021.

The outcome of the peer review, as well as the follow-up report, are available here. The follow-up visit was hosted by Eddy Wille from Governmental Agency of Flanders OVAM-VLAIO, who has originally participated as one of the peers.

Alongside the host, two former peers, Clyde Falzon Bouvett from WasteServ Malta Limited (Malta) and German Coca, from the Andalusian Ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy (Spain), and four representatives from the City of Greifswald were present. 

Katharina Krell, Magda Michaliková and Astrid Severin, our low carbon economy and environment and resource efficiency Thematic Experts, have also participated in the visit.

Programme of the visit

The programme started with a presentation from OVAM. Ways to transform landfills into circular economy were discussed. The host described the role of the negotiator/mediator – an expert on the topic delegated by the local consortium, who helps the developer and facilitates communication between involved stakeholders.

Various examples of and approaches to landfill and brownfield rehabilitation were visited, including:

A mixed redevelopment with residential housing, park and recreational areas, and health care facilities.

Former gypsum landfill redeveloped into a solar energy park, with 55 000 solar panels installed.

Former fly ash and construction and development landfill redeveloped into a park and recreational area

Former sludge basins are currently being redeveloped into Ghent University’s research zone, municipal logistics centre, and green spaces. The use of hemp for fiber production and natural treatment of polluted ground is tested on the site.

Former tannery redeveloped as a sports facility and youth hostel.

A currently ongoing project of a large brownfield redevelopment along the old docks in Gent. Development of mixed-use buildings, including apartments, social housing, or school, with focus on sustainability and preservation of industrial heritage.

The representatives from the City of Greifswald have gained many ideas and inspiration for the direction of their own landfill rehabilitation plans. They were particularly interested in the governance methods in Flanders and the mediator’s role.

Michael Heinz from the City of Greifswald reflected on the two days: “You have shown us landfills and brownfields of various functions – energy production, private economy and natural areas. Ideas ranging from recreation to urban mining show the diversity and complexity of the project. The function of the negotiator was a very inspiring practice for us, as is the idea of intermediary use and flexibility. Thank you for showing us all the different examples.

German Coca, from the Andalusian Ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy in Spain added, “These were very inspiring two days. I always have something new to bring home and reflect on. I already have several ideas that I will share with my organisation and hopefully implement in Andalusia.


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Land use