Great win for our #forests, #biodiversity and #air quality!
Council of State has ruled:
Vattenfall wrongly did not submit an environmental impact report with the application for an environmental permit for the #biomass plant. Therefore, the environmental permit must be cancelled.
Because the Board could not rule out that the wood residues and thus the wood pellets had to be regarded as waste for the assessment of the EIA requirement, the Board should have qualified the biomass power plant as an installation for the incineration of non-hazardous waste subject to EIA.
This statement is about the biomass power plant that Vattenfall wants to realize in Diemen. Vattenfall wants to burn wood pellets made from wood residues in that central plant. In this case, the Division was faced with the question of whether it was right that no environmental impact statement had been drawn up for this power station. Such an environmental impact statement is mandatory if the power station must be classified as an “installation for the incineration of non-hazardous waste” and that power station has a capacity of more than 100 tonnes per day. It is not in dispute that the wood pellets are not hazardous waste. It is also not in dispute that the biomass plant has a capacity of more than 100 tons per day. It is in dispute whether the wood residues, and by extension the wood pellets, are waste. To determine this, it is important to know whether the person from whom the wood residues from which the wood pellets are made originate wanted to dispose of them. The intention of that “holder” is, after all, decisive for the question of whether those wood residues should be regarded as waste within the meaning of the legislation and regulations on the environmental impact assessment.
In this case, Vattenfall has not provided enough concrete information to the Provincial Executive about the origin of the wood residues from which the pellets are made, and about the intention of the holder thereof. That is why the Board could not rule out the possibility that the wood residues and therefore the wood pellets should be qualified as waste. Due to the lack of sufficient concrete information, the Commission was also unable to assess whether the wood pellets can be regarded as a by-product, which means that they are not waste after all. The Commission was also unable to establish that the end-of-waste phase had been reached. This can be achieved when waste has undergone recovery treatment and meets specific criteria, which are set at European level or at national level. In this case, those criteria have not been established.