Efficient use of the subsurface

Use of the soil and the underground space needs to be sustainable, safe and efficient. Use needs to be offset by protective measures. These are the aims of the Policy Strategy on Use of the Underground Space, which provincial and municipal authorities are required to use as the basis for spatial planning. Suppliers of drinking water and energy, government authorities and residents can also consult the policy strategy when drafting plans for the use of land. In decision-making on plans, government authorities, market parties and civil society organisations have to work together and take the safety and interests of local residents into consideration.

The policy strategy is about:

  • groundwater extraction for drinking;
  • how the mining industry could help achieve the climate goals, for instance through the extraction of geothermal energy and gas, and the underground storage of certain substances.

The ground beneath our feet...we don’t often think about it...but we depend on it in many ways.

It accommodates an enormous network of service pipes and cables that transport gas, water, electricity and wastewater.

There are tunnels for transportation, underground parking garages for cars and bicycles and the foundations of all our buildings.

We also use the subsurface for our energy supply. To extract gas and oil.

In addition, new technologies are making it possible to store energy and use energy from sustainable sources

But, of course, there are also natural cycles under the ground. One of great importance is groundwater.

There is also a lot of existing archaeological and geological information  that we want to preserve for future generations.

There’s a lot going on in the ground beneath  our feet...there are many different functions; each one of them of importance. They can hinder one another or complement each other.

Reusing an empty gas field to store natural gas.

But it is often impossible, for example, to extract natural gas and geothermal energy in the same place at the same time.

What takes place in the subsurface is connected to the world above ground. For example, it can be opportune to build greenhouses in places where geothermal energy can be extracted easily.

Conversely, an activity in the subsurface often needs an above-ground plant that can be difficult to integrate into a busy or vulnerable area.

A vision on the use of the subsurface is needed to optimally channel new developments in the right direction and to protect important functions.

Anything we do in the subsurface has an impact that lasts for decades and often the consequences of our actions are not easily reversed. Coordination between activities is therefore essential.

In this way, we can prevent problems from arising and not let opportunities pass by. Together with other stakeholders, the government is therefore drawing up a National Spatial Planning Strategy for the subsurface.

To ensure that we can continue to make sustainable use of the subsurface in the future.                                                                                                       

The subsurface purifies water...water we use for agriculture and our tap water...