January 24, 2021

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Unrest in local politics in North Holland caused by the construction of two mega data centers

Unrest in local politics in North Holland caused by the construction of two mega data centers

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Hollands Kroon community in northern North Holland held additional council meetings to build a new Microsoft data center. The province of North Holland is of the opinion that the plans should be adjusted and the West Friesland region disagrees with the zoning plan.

The case has created great tension in the coalition described NRC. Two council members of the coalition groups VVD and Seniors Hollands Kroon (SHK) have left.

“We want to bring the facts to the table: What was agreed with the giants of the data center?” Says Lars Ruiter, who was expelled from the VVD group. “So far we have had very little information. We were not well informed and poorly involved in the plans.”

Also an advantage for the environment

Microsoft said in a response that it is aware of the complexities of growth and concerns of the local community because the company is in touch with them. According to Microsoft, there is also an environmental benefit: the number of jobs will increase as the data center expands. And construction won’t take place until approval is given, says Microsoft.

According to Lars Ruiter, there has been tension around these files for some time. “The coalition agreement stipulated that data centers should be given more space. This met with great resistance from farmers and local residents.”

In April the council decided to stop this plan. But there was only one thing: the Commission wanted to give room to current initiatives, including the construction of the second data center. “That’s not a bit: it goes from 50 to 230 hectares,” says Ruiter. He then wrote a statement in the Noordhollands Dagblad. “That caused bad blood in my group.”

ask

Jeff Leever, who has left the senior group, says his questions about the zone applications were not well received. “The questions were on the parish grounds for about two hours and then they were removed.”

SHK City Councilor Mary van Gent says in an email available to the kup that Leever’s questions were “premature”. His questions are also said to have “exploded the coalition”. Van Gent fears the end of the coalition “if the press takes it off”. “I had the feeling that this action crossed a democratic line of separation of powers,” said Leever.

The city council said that in the short term, all possible moments were planned when people would be briefed on this issue. Therefore, she found it impractical to hand in a whole list of questions shortly beforehand. It was just advice, says Van Gent.

Target plan

According to Erik Annaert, party leader of VVD Hollands Kroon, the development plan provides for the construction of a second data center at this location. “We are not against the construction,” he says.

For the time being, the municipal council received the green light to further develop the plans. However, more attention should be paid to appearance. For example, a row of trees could be planted along the A7 so that the data centers are not visible.