4 Integrated planning, coordina-tion and collaboration

Practitioner’s Interview with François Mayer
Department of Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment, Wallonia

Francois Mayer

“I am responsible for the convergence of common themes between the regional government’s Department of Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment and the Department of Spatial planning, Urban planning and Energy in Wallonia. With regard to flood risk management, we aim for a better consideration of flood risks in agricultural projects (specifically preventing mud streams due to soil erosion) and in developments close to agricultural zones. Furthermore, we developed a regional framework for rainwater management on individual parcels within building projects or allotments.

I see the need for a strategy aiming at promoting the infiltration of rainwater on parcel level in the urban environment. For this we need technical guidelines adapted to the local situation (for example the local soil permeability) and adaptation of the legal framework. Urban planning and spatial planning project dossiers should contain a chapter assessing the impact on the water cycle. In the end the creation of a technical cell to support the local authorities would be beneficial.

To promote more integrated planning we need to 1) identify the key actors in spatial planning (urban and rural) and water managers  (drinking water, sewerage and watercourses), 2) let them work together on a regional level; 3) develop a common vision; 4) ensure the dialog with scientists; and 5) communicate the decisions and other information to the general public. My key advice is to organise platforms that bring together authorities and other stakeholders from multiple levels, multiple domains and multiple types of organisations.

A good example of a collaboration platform that deals with river floods is the Wallonian Groupe Transversal Inondations (‘cross-cutting’ flood group). This structure follows the plan “P.LU.I.E.S.” established in 2003. It organises monthly meetings with representatives from among others the academic world, the Drinking Water Federation, watercourse managers (provincial and regional), and the regional administration (in charge of spatial planning; rural environment; roads; and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive).”[1]

[1] More information (in french): http://environnement.wallonie.be/inondations/