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Meta's Dutch data centre plans halted due to local pushback

Dutch Senators want more time to implement tighter regulations while campaigners cite environmental concerns

The Dutch Senate has passed a motion calling on the government to temporarily suspend the construction of a Meta data centre. 

Plans to build a facility across 410 acres of farmland in the town of Zeewolde were approved in December but were halted on Tuesday due to a mix of environmental concerns and planning regulations. 

The facility was set to be a new home European home for Meta's Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp servers. It was expected to run on green energy and use 1.38 gigawatts of electricity but was largely opposed by environmental campaigners who didn't want the country's limited supply of sustainable power being used by a multinational corporation. 

The motion was raised by Senator Niko Koffeman and it requests that the government uses its powers to force the municipality of Zeewolde, which is just over 30 miles east of Amsterdam, to put a hold on the preparations to enable the data centre's construction. This is on the grounds of "public interest" with the Senate also seeking tougher rules for large scale data centre development. 

The local government in Zeewolde has established a zoning plan for the construction and it is thought that the Housing and Spatial Planning unit of the Dutch government doesn't want to change those plans. However, there are ongoing discussions around the sale of the land, which is owned by the central government. The talks will take into account the planned data centre's energy consumption and other environmental requirements. 

Koffeman had a motion adopted in December by the previous government to suspend the sale of the land and he has also put forward an additional argument that the new government coalition should implement stricter requirements for the location of future data centres. 

Koffeman has also called for additional requirements for Meta's data centre around its energy generation, use of water and the use of residual heat, before permits are issued.

IT Pro has approached Meta for comment. 

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