Asfaltcentrale Eindhoven (ACE) must invest in order to emit less benzene, the municipal executive committee told the city council on Wednesday evening. But before this can be enforced by the municipality, the plant must apply for a permit.
If that does not happen, it may be some time before ACE can be induced to invest in systems to reduce benzene emissions.
At the beginning of the week, various groups requested an emergency debate on the environmental permit for the asphalt factory. The permit did not include the application of the ‘Best Available Techniques (BAT) – which would force the company to invest in the best systems to reduce the benzene emissions of the plant as much as possible.
However, Rik Thijs, councillor for the Environment revealed that the municipal executive did intend to enforce BAT on the asphalt manufacturer. ACE submitted the request for a permit at the end of January. Upon review in mid-February, it became clear that it was not a permit for a change but a permit for an environmental plant. This took the municipality and the Zuidoost-Brabant Regional Environment Service (Odzob) by surprise,” explains Thijs.
“This was not what Odzob had agreed with the ACE,” the alderman continues. “In the application for the environmental plant amendment, a number of documents are missing.” The bottom line is that due to ACE’s failure to make the correct permit application, the municipality was unable to enforce BAT.
In discussion with ACE
“We have made it clear from the municipality together with the Environmental Service in conversation with the director of ACE, that the correct permit application must be submitted by 8 April. If that does not happen, we will still start an ‘ex officio procedure’,” says Thijs. “But the consequences may be that we then have to start a whole procedure, which will take longer. This will not help the residents in the end,” says Thijs.
After the alderman’s explanation, the submitting parties – SP, Ouderen Appèl, Mary-Ann Schreurs and 50Plus – withdrew their request for the urgent debate. Halfway through April it should become clear whether ACE is indeed keeping to the agreements with the municipality. By 8 April, the factory must have applied for the right permit, so that the municipality can enforce the reduction of benzene emissions from the factory by means of a BAT.
Translator: Simge Taşdemir