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Citizens' group calls for solar panels on Military Museum as energy costs soar
A citizens’ group in Brussels has called for the installation of solar panels on the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History to reduce the high energy costs it incurs, RTBF reports. The group claims the inaction by the regional government in addressing these costs is part of a wider plan to undermine the museum.
The neighbourhood committee 'Tervuren - Montgomery' said in a press release that the exorbitant bills the museum faces – in the tens of thousands of euros – could be sharply reduced by installing solar panels but there seems to be little willingness to address what it calls “a robbery".
"Engineers from the Buildings Agency refuse to install solar panels in the Cinquantenaire Park,” the committee’s statement said, referring to the location of the museum. “As a result, taxpayers are already paying tens of thousands of euros in bills."
"However, the energy minister announced last week that public buildings would be electrically autonomous by the end of 2023."
The Military Museum is subject to renovation plans that apply to the whole of the Cinquantenaire Park as part of an initiative to give the area a makeover before Belgium’s bicentenary celebrations. All work in the park must be completed by 2030.
The Ministry of Defence indicates that an architectural renovation of the interior of the Military Museum can only be considered if the exterior of the building is also in order, a renovation that has been running for several years and is no closer to completion. The committee believes that the lack of commitment in that regard has been deliberate and that the state of the museum could be used to justify the break-up of the collection it houses in favour of thematic museums in Flanders and Wallonia.
In a bid to put pressure on the authorities, the committee has set up a petition to call for the installation of solar panels as part of the museum’s renovation. In less than a week, more than 36,000 people have signed the petition digitally.