ENCI loses environmental permit

ENCI loses environmental permit
Published: 07 February 2014

Tagged Under: ENCI Environmental 

On 6 February 2014, the Dutch Council of State revoked the environmental permit of ENCI, local press have reported. The measure has been taken as the impact of cement production on the European protected nature areas in Kanne (Riemst) are not sufficiently mapped, according to Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg. At present the plant is still running, but the provincial authorities in Maastricht are considering further steps.

The environmental permit was granted to the cement producer in 2010, but both ENCI and environmental pressure group Stichting ENCI Stop appealed. In 2013, the municipality of Riemst also protested, but this was declared non-valid. Nevertheless, the permit of the plant has been revoked as the Council of State declared that “significant consequences of ENCI’s operations on the Belgian Natura 2000 areas could not be ruled out”. The natural resources in the case consist of the Plateau of Caestert, Tiendenberg in Kanne and the Wallonian areas of Montagne Saint-Pierre and Basse Meuse et Meuse Mitoyenne.

No appeal against the ruling is possible, but the works has remained operational without permit as the province is yet to decide on the issue, a step expected today or tomorrow. If ENCI applies for a new environmental permit and can expect a regularisation, the 200 staff could continue to operate the factory without a permit for a while. The plant’s management declined comment.

The quarrying of limestone at the St-Pietersberg in Maastricht has been a thorn in the eye of environmental pressure groups for decades and Stichting ENCI Stop has been campaigning for the immediate closure of the cement works. While initially it was agreed that ENCI would cease quarrying operations in 2010, the deadline was moved to July 2018. ENCI would then import clinker from Wallonia. However, it is now up to the Maastricht government to decide on the fate of the works.