Nudist beach blocked over fears 'sexual activity' by naked sunbathers could scare away wildlife
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Nudist beach blocked over fears 'sexual activity' by naked sunbathers could scare away wildlife

PLANS for a nudist beach in Belgium have hit a snag over concerns about the potential effect of naked sunbathers' sexual activity on local wildlife.

The Flemish Agency for Nature and Woodland blocked an application for a second naturist beach in the country near Westende, Flanders, after a report found "subsidiary activities" by beachgoers could pose a threat to the crested lark (Galerida cristata) - a rare bird which broods in the area.

The Belgian Naturism Federation had requested permission to legalise naked sunbathing on the beach as the country's sole nudist beach, at nearby Bredene, had become too crowded with visitors.

However, objections were raised that the larks could be disturbed by beachgoers having sex in the dunes.

Koen Meulemans, chairman of the Belgian Naturism Federation, condemned the behaviour but denied "real naturists" were involved.

"We too regret this behaviour, which has nothing to do with naturism," he told the Guardian.

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"These are not real naturists for us."

Mr Meulemans explained that his organisation's 8,200 paying members needed a new beach because the beach at Bredene was seriously overcrowded.

He added: "1,000 people face each other on a strip of 400 metres in Bredene."

The Flemish Agency for Nature and Woodland has called for a fence to be erected to close off the dunes, with fines for anyone who trespasses.

Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege will discuss concerns with both sides before a final decision is made.