The Netherlands – On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Dutch Raad van State will rule on the future of Porthos, the large-scale project to store CO2 from Rotterdam’s industry in empty gas fields under the North Sea. The ruling concerns the construction exemption. This means that nitrogen emissions during the construction phase no longer need to be examined and assessed separately.
The ruling specifically concerns the ‘Porthos transport and storage of CO2’ incorporation plan. The incorporation plan makes the Porthos project possible. According to Coöperatie Mobilisation for the Environment (MOB), the inclusion plan and the permits in the construction phase lead to nitrogen precipitation in protected Natura 2000 areas. Therefore, according to MOB, the responsible ministries should have made a so-called appropriate assessment for the plan, but they failed to do so.
According to the government, an appropriate assessment is not necessary because the so-called construction exemption from the new Nitrogen Reduction and Nature Improvement Act and the Nitrogen Reduction and Nature Improvement Decree was used. According to MOB, however, that construction exemption violates the European Habitat Directive. This is the first court case before the Administrative Law Division in which this construction exemption has been raised.