Rainwater barrels can offer people access to free non-drinkable water, for watering lawns and plants, Source: Waldemar Brandt / Unsplash

Leuven to subsidise trees and rain barrels in private yard gardens

Leuven to subsidise trees and rain barrels in private yard gardens

People can receive around 100 euros for a 200-litre container that catches rainwater

The Belgian city Leuven has announced a decision to subsidise households to plant a tree in their backyard or install a rainwater barrel. The idea of the policy is to stimulate grassroots sustainable development as single-family homes are considered one of the most unsustainable living arrangements.

Despite the fact that they are unreasonably resourced intensive, they also have enormous biodiversity potential, as single-family homes with green spaces. This is why Leuven authorities aim to stimulate more sustainable practices. A single tree can help with soil unsealing, groundwater retention and provide a habitat for hundreds of insects and birds.

Urban policy in tandem with climate adaptation

The idea behind Leuven’s subsidy policy is to stimulate action on private property by private citizens. David Dessers, the city’s Alderman for Climate, was quoted by VRT explaining that Leuven pays for every square metre of concrete that is removed in favour of green spaces.

The same goes for climate adaptation measures in people’s backyards and front yards. With the new rules, residents can receive up to 100 euros for installing a rainwater barrel with a minimum volume of 200 litres. The barrel will collect water over time which can then be used to water green spaces and plants.

However, when it comes to water, people go a step further. According to an official statement, people can opt to install a rainwater tank with a minimum volume of 5,000 litres and still expect subsidies in line with that investment.

Additionally, this policy also applies to planting trees or redesigning a roof so that it temporarily retains water. The changes to the subsidy policy of Leuven will kick in at the start of 2023.



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