Landfills and opportunities for nature redevelopment

On February 24th 2021, the Flemish minister of Environmental Affairs signed the communication on the project ‘Landfills and nature redevelopment opportunities’ addressed to all municipalities of Flanders that have former landfills within their territory (296). This project is related to the ambition of the minister to install 4.000 ha additional woodland before 2025. OVAM supports this objective by introducing the lessons learned on Dynamic Landfill Management in the Interreg projects COCOON and RAWFILL.

Each municipality received a map with the identified landfills which are listed in OVAM’s Cedalion database. By using the QR-code on this map, the local civil servants get access to the field application which was developed in the RAWFILL-project. With a simple smartphone as a device, the user can go on site, add data and exchange it digitally with OVAM. This sort of civil servant science provides OVAM information on the interest of municipalities to set up nature conservation and/or forestation projects.

Due to a change of the soil legislation, all landfills should be investigated before 2024. If municipalities intend to upgrade a landfill to a forest, OVAM will perform the preliminary soil investigation at their expenses and a grant of 25.000 euro/ha is awarded to create woodland. Of course, the final decision depends on the characteristics of the landfill and its environment. A risk assessment is part of the redevelopment process and no adverse impact will be tolerated.

On the OVAM-website (, the project is explained in more detail (in Dutch). A downloadable webinar provides background on this project and the e-learning tool explains step-by-step the use of the RAWFILL field-application.

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