Several nature and climate organizations have announced that they have filed an appeal against the removal of trees as a result of Project ONE in Lillo. INEOS understands these concerns, but also emphasizes that the responsible removal of trees fits within the normal development of this industrial zone.
“We understand the concerns that some people have about our plans, and we take them to heart,” says John McNally, CEO INEOS Project ONE. “The removal of trees and shrubs will be done in a responsible manner.” Thus, INEOS has planned to replace the 22 hectares of trees older than 22 years (which are scattered on fallow industrial land) with 55 hectares of valuable forest in Flanders, which is more than required by law.
The division of the approval procedure into separate parts has a simple explanation: an important consideration is that the relocation of the flora and fauna is accomplished before the breeding season. “The last of the environmental impact assessments will also include an evaluation of all of the assessments combined,” John McNally adds.
GRUP: industrial port area
The project area falls within the Gewestelijk Ruimtelijk Uitvoeringsplan (GRUP) (Regional environmental planning) Demarcation of the Antwerp Seaport Area in the ‘Business’ usage category. Project ONE is a construction project within the current port area and will be surrounded by high-threshold Seveso sites such as Gunvor Petroleum Antwerp, INOVYN Manufacturing Belgium, and Bayer Agriculture. John McNally: “So it is completely normal that the Port Authority wishes to develop this site industrially, and we are delighted that we can carry this out and thus strengthen the Antwerp chemical cluster.”
INEOS points out that this investment represents a revolution for the European chemical sector. The last 50 large investments in the industry were all made in China, the Middle East or the United States. China has evolved from a follower to a leader, but according to environmental standards that are quite different from those in Europe. So, developing this production site in Antwerp, in accordance with the strict environmental standards that apply here, creates a bridge to a future-oriented chemical sector in Antwerp and Flanders. Project ONE will create 450 jobs in the port, and 3,000 people will be employed during the construction.