The BALANCE project aims to develop and to evaluate new methods and practices enhancing the availability and quality of green areas in peri-urban areas in order to provide a safe and healthy living environment. It will involve the local communities during the different project phases. Respecting the balance between nature, development and recreation is of major importance to make the 2 Seas area attractive for inhabitants and visitors. Another goal of the BALANCE project is to increase political attention for green areas with a socio-economic study and by communicating throughout the project implementation. The project supports crossborder development of sustainable tourism in ecologically vulnerable areas and creates a better living environment for the inhabitants as an important building block for the regions competitiveness and attractiveness.Read more
Expected Results (EN):
What are the key results of the project?
- A study on the ecological opportunities for nature and landscape directly linked to greenways in Schelde-Leie region
- regional management plan Schelde-Leie region
- 1 standard socio-economic questionnaire and 1 transnational study with socio-economic data for all Balance regions
- In Flanders : 1 action plan for local entrepreneurs
- in Kent : 1 study on contribution of natural heritage to economy and quality of life
- in Suffolk : 1 detailed socio-economic study of three long distance routes
- final report with cross border recommendations for local and regional policymakers
- case study on process and method for consulting with the community to create more sustainable wildlife habitats in peri-urban area in Kent
- visitor & recreation strategy to help manage and plan for increased visitor pressure to the protected landscape in Suffolk County
Physical accessibility and Investments
- 5 regions with improved accessibility
- partly realised greenway network in the region Schelde-Leie, development of tidal nature areas along the river Spui in Holland
- development of 5 hectares of chalk grassland and 5 hectares of woodland in Kent
- restoration and enhancement of heathlands, wetlands and coastal habitats in England
Mental accessibility Investments
- 2 transformed visitor centre with interactive educational methods (SW England and Zuid-Holland)
- interactive information centre around Haringvliet and Hollands Diep;
- study, guidebooks, visitors' information and a list of projects activities to inform future planning in Suffolk
- Improved visitor interpretation facilities in key wildlife areas in SW England.
Visits and communication
- 4 expert visits including joint workshops
- transnational website on the BALANCE project
- plans, maps, flyers produced
Are all partners and territories benefitting from the results?
The main target group and beneficiaries of the cross-border BALANCE project are users of the project areas. These are the inhabitants and visitors of the cities in the neighbourhood of the BALANCE projects. They will greatly benefit from the project results/investments. The beneficiaries are school children, commuters, walkers, cyclists, horse riders, mountain bikers and other recreational users of green space, of all different ages. The partnes will also pay attention to minority groups. Another target group of the BALANCE project are the professionals in nature and recreational infrastructure management. They will be invited to the project conferences and expert workshops in the Netherlands, the UK and Flanders and develop new skills and innovative methodologies.
Local entrepreneurs will be final beneficiaries with more recreation and more visitors, tourism provides opportunities to local entrepreneurs. Also, local owners and farmers can benefit from the project by implementing agro-environmental or agro-tourism measures in cooperation with the project partners.
Policymakers at the local, provincial, regional and European level, responsible for ensuring the development of rural and (peri) urban areas will benefit from the results of the BALANCE project which can inform future policy decisions. They will also be invited on the cross-border conferences organised during the project period.
What are the effects / outcomes for the territories involved?
There will be an effect on the management of nature, landscape, natural heritage and urban-rural relations. The project encourages and improves the joint protection and management of the environment. The Balance project will also improve cross-border understanding.
The users of the project areas are the inhabitants of the cities in the neighbourhood of the BALANCE projects. They will greatly benefit from the project results/investments. In addition, visitors and tourists will benefit from the recreation possibilities in these regions. This will improve their overall well-being and progress.
Cooperation in a cross-border partnership leads to more efficiency in balancing natural sites in and in the neigbourhood of major cities. By sharing expertise and jointly designing an implementing the measures, partners prevent making unnecessary mistakes and enhance quality of life for all.
The combined activities will increase public participation and awareness in managing sensitive wildlife without compromising conservation leading to improved public participation in management of sensitive wildlife sites. The final report, the socio-economic study and the conferences will increase the attention of local and regional policymakers for balanced projects. With the communication about the project and its promotion, the effect on tourism will be positive. The return of the investments will be higher, as more local people and tourists will visit these green areas. Local enterpreneurs can benefit from these opportunities. This way, the sustainable, long-term impact of the project results is ensured.Read more