Province stops construction of second data center at Middenmeer due to traffic problems

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With an intervention by the municipality of Hollands Kroon, the province of North Holland has halted the construction of an extra Microsoft data center on the west side of the A7 near Middenmeer. This intervention mainly revolves around the increased traffic that would arise from the extra data center.

The reactive designation of the province revolves around a recently adopted amended zoning plan from the municipality of Hollands Kroon. With this zoning plan, Microsoft was able to build a new data center on the west side of the A7, but the Provincial Executive has put a stop to that for the time being.

The province’s concerns mainly revolve around how the increased traffic from the additional data center will progress. This does not only concern construction traffic, but also traffic once the data center has been built. There are namely two intersections that traffic could take; one on the north side and one off the N239. According to the province, this last intersection cannot handle any more traffic, because otherwise road safety would be jeopardized.

The province has already expressed concerns about this. The City Council therefore amended the proposed amendment to the zoning plan to address these concerns. However, this amendment would not go far enough for the province. The province still fears that traffic will not only drive via the north side, but that traffic will also go via the intersection at the N239.

In addition, the province is concerned about how the construction of data centers will fit into the landscape and there are questions about energy and cooling water consumption. However, from a legal point of view, the province cannot issue a reactive indication on these points; the intervention of the province therefore only revolves around the traffic situation.

Due to the reactive designation, no additional data center can be built at this time; Microsoft will therefore have to stop construction for the time being. According to planning, the data center should be ready in two years. The municipality can appeal through the Council of State or must change the zoning plan.

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