Flemish council annuls permit for Ineos ethane cracker in port of Antwerp

The Council for Permit Disputes has annulled the environmental permit for the much-discussed ethane cracker 'Project One' that chemical giant Ineos wants to build in the port of Antwerp. The Flemish government is now given six months to reconsider the permit application.

In June 2022, chemical company Ineos Olefins Belgium received an environmental permit from the Flemish government to build a new ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp. With the billion-dollar project 'Project One', Ineos wants to convert ethane into ethylene, one of the basic raw materials for plastic production.

But 14 associations - including nature and environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Bond Beter Leefmilieu and BOS+ - filed an annulment appeal with the Council for Permit Disputes, pointing to the potential environmental and climate risks of the project. The Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Zeeland also filed separate appeals.

"Inadequate" research

The Council's ruling is based on the appeal of North Brabant, which claims that the Ineos project was licensed without an appropriate investigation of the effects of additional nitrogen deposition. In its ruling, the Council agrees with the Dutch province, saying that the Flemish government "did not carefully decide why the additional nitrogen deposition is not harmful to nature in the Brabantse Wal."

In addition, the Council calls the appropriate assessment, like the study of the possible impact on nearby nature, "inadequate". For instance, the study added by Ineos itself "does not meet the requirements set by the European Court of Justice". "It does not sufficiently take into account the conservation objectives of the nature reserve," the Council says.

With the environmental permit annulled, Ineos Olefins Belgium is no longer authorised to carry out the works for the ethane cracker. The Flemish government now has six months to reconsider the permit application.



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