PLASTICS AND ENVIRONMENT
Follow-up: Environmental associations go to court over Ineos Project One / “Destructive and completely unnecessary”
Developments connected with the billion euro cracker project Project One have been full of ups and downs for Ineos (London; www.ineos.com).

After planning permission had first been withdrawn and then granted again, 14 environmental organisations working with the campaign initiators, ClientEarth (London; www.clientearth.org), have taken up arms once again – including the local units of Greenpeace and WWF.

The Brabantse Wal nature reserve is located in the Netherlands, north of Antwerp and the Belgian border (Photo: VVVBrabantseWal)


On the same day that Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe wrote an open letter to sitting EU president Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo, airing his current view of Europe’s shortcomings, the organisations filed a suit against the authorities in the Belgian region of Flanders on the grounds that Ineos was holding back details on the cracker’s true impact on people, the environment, and the climate – not just in the region but also along the full value chain.

This presumably refers, among other things, to the extensive import of shale gas from the US, for which Ineos had several gas tankers built in order to supply the local ethane crackers.

The environmental organisations argue that the Flemish authorities’ approval of the project without first demanding a full assessment of its impacts is “illegal” under both EU and national laws. The additional requirements recently called for by Ineos were just window dressing. The petrochemicals group counters this, maintaining that the project would be “Europe’s most sustainable cracker”. 

The ClientEarth lawyer involved with the legal action, Tatiana Luján, believes Project One would help fuel more plastics production when the market is already at the saturation point. This view is hardly likely to be shared by plastics producers and converters, who already fear that the basis for their business could increasingly disappear from Europe. This would make the continent more and more dependent on imports, a concern shared, among others, by VCI president Markus Steilemann.

In the Netherlands especially, nitrogen emissions – regarded by the environmental organisations as one of the key issues – are a public problem. In order to reduce the pollution, the government has also set aside considerable funds to compensate farmers. They could now feel unjustly treated compared with industrial projects such as Project One.

Confrontations like this between industry and nature – including people – may well become more common in future, especially in regions where both sides somehow have to get along with each other.

Related: Biden administration launches new thrust for environmental justice through the back door

Here, for example, we have the port of Antwerp, which accommodates, among other things, both the nuclear power plant in Doel and the neighbouring heath and woodland belonging to Natura 2000, a network of protected areas within the European Union that was set up in 1992 under the Habitats Directive.
06.03.2024 Plasteurope.com [254807-0]
Published on 06.03.2024
Ineos: Umweltverbände ziehen erneut gegen „Project One“ vor GerichtGerman version of this article...

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