Kronenbergen, 13 july 2023
“The noise pollution is the same, but the region has grown dramatically in the last 15 years.
dramatically grown, no more airbase fits into that”, the region warns.
Last Tuesday, horse owners of the region reunited at Peelbergen for an information evening about the possible reaction of Air Base De Peel.
The meeting saw no less than 200 people gathering on our grounds, among them representative of the Horse Owners, Defence, regional representatives, and emeritus professor Marianne Sloet, discussing the consequences of the possible reopening of the airbase on the region and the horse sector.
The meeting, with the cooperation of Limburg Paardensport, the LLTB, and Peelbergen Equestrian Centre, was kicked off by moderator Sander Kleikers. After a
word of welcome, Ellen Poels, Mathijs van Asten and Roy RuRen spoke briefly on behalf of the Horse Owners group:
“We want to make the horse sector even more aware of the possible consequences. In addition, it is in everyone’s interest to offer the government and defence insight into the impact the reopening will have.” says Ellen Poels.
“The flying behavior of Apache and Chinook helicopters is already creating dangerous situations, sometimes resulting in accidents. Even more flight hours and F35 fighter jets will undoubtedly bring more stress to the horses and their keepers“, adds Roy RuRen.
Impact on animal welfare and economy
In cooperation with the province of Limburg, over the past 12 years the region and the sector have invested heavily in developing the province of Limburg into the equestrian hotspot of the Netherlands, with global ambitions. The economic growth of the sector over the years has increased exponentially, and from all over the world there is great interest in
stimulate that growth. “Defense’s plan not only puts animal welfare at risk, but will
also have major economic consequences“, said Mathijs van Asten.
After the introduction, an explanation was given by Colonel Jos van der Leij of the Ministry of Defense. He explained the reasons behind a possible reopening of the De Peel Air Base, and what issues and interests are involved. The Ministry of Defense has paused the process for reactivation to first determine what the nitrogen contribution is and expects to take a dcision after the summer in coordination with the region.
“Defence is aware of the complexity and problem that the reopening of the airbase entails,” Van der Leij explains. “But we are in a period where the security situation has seriously deteriorated in Europe. We need a bigger armed force with more equipment and people who need to be able to train to be deployed. NATO is our common security policy and to it we, as well as our allies, must contribute.”
Stress in horses
Emeritus professor Marianne Sloet of Utrecht University gave an explanation about the stress horses can experience from helicopters and other jets and what consequences this can lead to. However, she concluded more objective research is necessary.
The demand for more clarity from the government and municipalities was shared by many in the room. The goal of a constructive conversation with all the stakeholders involved and providing more clarity was brilliantly achieved by the Horse Owners group.
Carefully informing and drawing attention to the problem is key. However, the work is far from over for the organization.
Taking an active role in the community and facilitating these events, do you want to know more about the possible reopening? For more information visit the Defence dedicated page,
or take contact with the Horse Owners Group: Werkgroep Bezorgde Paardenhouders at firstname.lastname@example.org
From a press release from Werkgroep Bezorgde Paardenhouders (Eva van den Adel)