Construction of a Chinese tyre factory starts in Zrenjanin – environmental impact studies still missing

Was the environmental impact assessment study of the future tyre factory in Zrenjanin supposed to be carried out before the start of construction? Or is it sufficient for the public only to know about it when the construction of production facilities begins? Biologists, lawyers, various organizations, on the one hand, and the authorities, on the other, have different opinions.

Linglong opening its factory in Zrenjanin was deemed as a project of national importance and its construction started last year. However, to this day, the company still hasn’t submitted an environmental impact assessment.

“A tire factory is something that is immediately associated with “dirty” technology. I’m not saying it has to be like that, but every normal person who wants to ensure a safe existence has to ask themselves what the risks are. We are convinced that there should be an environmental impact assessment for this project,” says Zorica Radišić from the NGO Građanski Preokret.

For Zrenjanin, the city where people have been drinking polluted water for 16 years now, this problem carries a special weight. However, when an environmental impact assessment was required last year, the company answered that it would be drafted at a later stage.

Now, the municipal authorities have invited interested parties to say whether they believe that such assessment is necessary for the construction of the auxiliary facilities of the future factory, for which it issued a construction permit during the state of emergency.

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Exactly 215 complaints have been submitted to the Zrenjanin municipal administration, but they were declared unfounded because they concerned production facilities and not facilities for which the investor had requested a permit (this is the official explanation of the Zrenjanin administration).

This explanation is not acceptable to the Regulatory Institute for Renewable Energy and Environment (RERI), which also asked the Vojvodinian authorities to cancel the issued building permit.

“The implementation of such a project involves the construction of ancillary and preliminary structures which the investor has already started to do, but which they would not carry out if they did not intend to build the main structure, i.e. the tyre factory. The environmental impact assessment was supposed to be carried out at the outset,’ explains Jovan Rajić from the RERI.

The RERI also claims that the investor has violated the relevant regulation, with the tacit support of the city, the province and the state. On the other hand, the Provincial Secretariat for Energy, Building and Transport states that, according to them, Linglong has adhered to the relevant regulation.

“We have received no comments from the mayor regarding the construction of the tire factory in Zrenjanin. However, the Mašinoprojekt Kopring Company from Belgrade, which is authorized to submit the necessary documentation to obtain the construction permit on behalf of the investor, Linglong International Europe, has said that the two studies on environmental impact assessment will be available in three weeks.

(N1, 10.06.2020)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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