Tata Steel has already taken many measures to become less polluting, but ‘much still needs to be done’. That is the brief summary of two progress reports published by the province of Noord-Holland and the North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency (OD NZKG). The Environment Agency has established that all activities relating to the steel company ‘constrain the capacity of the regulator to an undiminished extent’. Moreover, it is difficult to find enough suitable personnel, as is clear from the report.
In the coming years, the steel company’s sustainability plans will only require ‘more capacity and additional deployment of specialized knowledge’ from the regulator. That is why it is busy recruiting new employees. ‘Like many other organizations in our country, OD NZKG also has to deal with the very tight labor market. As a result, it is possible that not all ambitions can be achieved’, the service tempers expectations.
Switch to hydrogen
Tata Steel wants to become less polluting by no longer producing steel using coal, as it is now, but ultimately using hydrogen. At the end of May, the Environment Agency wrote a concerned letter to the management of the steel company in IJmuiden about the switch to ‘green steel’. The information that Tata had provided so far was ‘insufficiently specific’ for the service to ‘make the correct preparations in time’ for the permit procedures that will follow. Last Friday, Tata announced that it wanted to accelerate the greening plans slightly. The company hopes to have its first hydrogen installation in use by 2030.
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In the report, the regulator also writes that it expects ‘maximum effort’ from Tata Steel in reducing the emissions of substances that bear the label ‘very worrying’, for example because they can harm health. That is not easy either, because the service runs into ‘bottlenecks’ in national legislation and regulations. ‘That means that we can’t protect the environment enough at the moment.’ The service has already raised this with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
In order to protect the environment, the Environment Agency, in its own words, wants to ‘examine the limits of what the law allows’.
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