Council of State scraps permit for Diemen biomass power plant
The province of Noord-Holland too easily issued a permit for the construction of a new biomass power plant in Diemen. An environmental impact study must be conducted before construction can begin. And that wrongly didn’t happen, the Council of State ruled in a ruling published on Wednesday.
The highest administrative court has, therefore, scrapped the environmental permit. The provincial government must make a new decision after extensive research into the impact of the plant on the living environment.
Energy company Vattenfall wants to burn wood pellets in the power station to generate heat for households in Diemen, Amsterdam, and Almere. Environmental organization MOB objected to this. The organization fears air pollution and damage to nature from the plant.
The crux of the matter was whether the wood pellets that Vattenfall wanted to use should be regarded as waste. If so, an environmental impact statement is required. The Council of State agreed with MOB on this point. The plant should be considered a waste incineration plant, and environmental research is needed for its construction.
Earlier, another court ruled against Mobilization for the Environment, as the organization is called in full. The organization filed an appeal and has now been successful.
MOB has several objections to this plant and biomass in general. One of the main concerns is the origin of the wood. While Vattenfall says it will get its wood from “responsibly managed forests,” MOB fears “serious damage to forests” in the Baltic States and the United States, among others. According to the environmental group, burning pellets can also release harmful substances, ranging from nitrogen oxides to dioxins and heavy metals. According to MOB, the plant poses risks to the health of locals and nearby nature reserves.
The ruling states that Vattenfall has provided the province with “too little concrete information” about the origin of the leftover wood. “Without that information, the province could not rule out that the leftover wood, and therefore the pellets, should be classified as waste.”
MOB also objected to two nature permits for the plant. The Council of State will rule on those objections later.
Vattenfall is “disappointed” and says it will investigate the ruling further. “We have previously indicated that we will not be able to make a decision about the plant until all permits have been obtained,” said a spokesperson.
Reporting by ANP