The Guardian is reporting that UK-based chemicals company Ineos may be forced to release key documents related to a £2.6bn investment covering construction of two new chemical plants in Antwerp, Belgium.
This follows campaigners questioning how the plants will affect Belgium’s climate change commitments and waste reduction strategies.
Rob Buurman, director of Recycling Network, which campaigns against plastic waste, said: “Every single angle – whether it is plastics, or the economic angle, or climate change – every one, I have come to the conclusion that this factory is not good for Flanders or for Europe.”
The Port of Antwerp and the Flanders Investment & Trade agency, both of which played roles in bringing the business to Belgium, declined requests from Buurman to release related project documentation.
Since then, an official transparency watchdog has ruled that the two organisations must release related documents, unless there is a legal reason preventing the disclosure. For example, documentation could be withheld if it contains proprietary information covering business operations.
With a target start-of-production date of 2024, the plants will convert propane into chemicals which can be used in the automotive, construction, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, electronics and packaging sectors. Ineos has said the plant will create 400 jobs, plus a further 3,000 jobs during the construction phase.
Announced in January this year, the decision to build the plants in Antwerp was welcomed by local politicians. The region’s minister-president Geert Bourgeois commented it was “the largest investment in Flanders in the past 20 years”.
The Antwerp Port Authority will respond to an appeal covering release of related documentation by the deadline on 9 May.