Agency for Nature and Forests issues 'not favourable' opinion on Ineos ethane cracker

The Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests announced on Tuesday that it has issued a "not favourable" opinion on Ineos' new application for its ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp. This means it is asking for additional information and pointing out improvements that could be made by Ineos.

The British chemical company has long wanted to build an ethane cracker, which produces ethylene by "cracking" molecules of ethane gas, in the port area of Antwerp. It received an environmental permit from the Flemish government in 2022.

This permit was later annulled by the Council for Permit Disputes following an appeal by environmental groups. The Council ruled that Ineos had not sufficiently demonstrated why the additional nitrogen deposition from the cracker would not be harmful to nature in the Brabantse Wal, a neighbouring nature reserve in the Netherlands.

On 12 October, Ineos resubmitted a new permit application, including an 800-page report. "We are confident that this will lead to the approval of the permit and look forward to the early realisation of Project One, the most climate-friendly ethane cracker on the European continent," the chemical company said at the time.

However, the Agency for Nature and Forests has issued a "not favourable" opinion on Ineos' application. According to news website Apache, the agency believes Ineos cannot exclude the possibility of doing "unavoidable and irreparable damage to the Flemish ecological network".

Not a negative advice

Agency spokeperson Jeroen Denaeghel later clarified on X that this is not the same as a negative opinion, but merely a request for additional information and a list of potential improvements for the company.

The Antwerp Regional Environmental Permit Commission will form the final opinion based on the advice of various agencies, including the Agency for Nature and Forests. This will be announced on 12 December. The City of Antwerp and the Port of Antwerp gave their approval for the project on Monday.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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