Over the next few decades, the sand motor will spread 21.5 million cubic metres of sand along the Zuid-Holland coast. In this way, the sand motor will enhance the safety of the coastal area and create additional space for nature and recreation.
The sand motor is a sand mass that has been deposited off the coast near Ter Heijde. The wind, waves and sea currents will gradually distribute this sand along the coast of Zuid-Holland. This principle of “harnessing nature to construct” a coastline will result in a natural expansion of the coast over the years to come. The arrival of the sand motor eliminates the need to supplement coastal sand every five years. This reduces the costs of our coastal defence and disturbs the life in the soil much less.
Surface area of 128 hectares
Since being deposited, the sand motor has grown to cover 128 hectares. Along the beach, it is approximately 2 kilometres wide. The peninsula projects into the sea for a distance of approximately 1 kilometer. Sand spraying started in January 2011. The first milestone, creating a peninsula with a surface area of approximately 100 hectares, was achieved in October 2011. The sand motor is expected to produce 35 hectares of new beaches and dunes in ten to twenty years’ time.
New beaches and dunes
For the first ten years, the natural developments along the coast will be closely monitored. For example, by the end of October 2011 it had been established that the tip of the sand motor was expanding towards the coast at a faster rate than had been expected.
The Sand Motor is an initiative of the province of Zuid-Holland. In addition to enhancing coastal safety, the project will create an additional 100 hectares of wildlife and recreation area. The expansion of green space is sorely needed in the southern part of the Randstad conurbation. Over the past few decades, a considerable amount of natural landscape and farmland have been sacrificed to infrastructure, housing, greenhouse farming and other activities. A more attractive coast will increase the appeal of the southern Randstad and bolster the business climate. Foreign companies set great store in the living environment they can offer their employees when selecting a business location.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is responsible for the technical realisation of the initiative. The province of Zuid-Holland is responsible for the management of the area. The national government is contributing € 58 million and the provincial government € 12 million to the project.