In the last few months, three new tunnels were drilled underneath the Brussels Ring. Foxes, badgers and smaller animals can use these tunnels to travel from one part of the Sonian Forest to the other.
The tunnels were drilled underneath the Brussels Ring, in a place where the forest forms a natural valley. They lie on the migration paths of many animals, so they can make maximal use of the tunnels.
The works are part of the European LIFE+ OZON project. The project tackles the fragmentation of the Sonian Forest. By 2017, about eight new fauna passages will be built over and underneath major roads through the forest, including a wildlife crossing of 60 meters wide.
In addition, 18 existing tunnels and culverts will be restored to improve the passage of bats, foxes, badgers and other animals. Some are built as drainage pipes or tunnels for pedestrians and bikers, but animals make use of them as well. A few of the tunnels were completely clogged or overgrown by plants.
The European Union, Flemish government, Environment Brussels and the municipalities of Hoeilaart, Tervuren and Overijse provide a budget of 6.7 million euros for the OZON project. At least one minister is happy three times over: “as an inhabitant and Minister of the Flemish periphery, obviously, but also as Minister of Mobility and Animal Welfare,” says Flemish minister Ben Weyts