ClientEarth v. Flemish Region
Jurisdiction: Environmental Ministry of Flanders
Side A: ClientEarth
Side B: Flemish Region
Core objectives: Whether the approval by the Flemish authorities of INEOS' Project One is illegal under EU and Belgium laws due to INEOS' inadequate assessment of how the project would impact the climate.
In 2021, Flemish authorities announced their approval of petrochemicals giant INEOS’ plastics plant project ('Project One') in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium.
ClientEarth and 13 other NGOs argue that this project would have tremendous and inadequately assessed environmental impacts, namely in the form of plastic pollution and climate change exacerbation. As a consequence of these concerns, these NGOs submitted an appeal against the permit to the Flemish Ministry of the Environment in early 2022. They argued, in particular, that the permit’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) failed to meet the legal requirements and should not be granted.
This appeal was dismissed in June 2022. A month later, the NGOs announced that they would bring the Flemish authorities to court to challenge this decision to dismiss their appeal. They argue that "INEOS has so far failed to present an adequate assessment of how the project would impact the climate, nature and surrounding air quality – all of which are likely to suffer significantly if the project goes ahead," and that "the Flemish authorities approved the project without first fully assessing its impacts – making the approval illegal according to EU and national laws." [Source = ClientEarth statement]
This judicial procedure is currently pending before the Council of Permit Disputes ("Raad Voor Vergunningsbetwistingen"). Hearings have not been announced yet at the time of writing.