New environmental permit
In March 2018 the Belgian State Council revoked the 2015 environmental permit of Sus Campiniae, because its location on the industrial site next to the Oevel cemetery had been insufficiently motivated by the then Flemish minister of Environment, Nature and Agriculture, Joke Schauvliege. The State claimed that the permit did not adequately explain how our company could be run on an industrial site next to the cemetery of Oevel.
In December 2018 minister Schauvliege decided to not provide additional motivation for the permit in spite of nothing but positive recommendations by all the environmental agencies that had been consulted (such as the ‘Gewestelijke Milieuvergunningscommissie’, ‘Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer’, ‘Departement Omgeving’ of the Flemish government and the ‘Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij’).
As we had always been working towards running our production site with a minimal and acceptable impact on its surroundings, this news came as quite a surprise to us. Furthermore, within the framework of the building permit, the Council for Permit Contestations had already and conclusively confirmed that Sus Campiniae had its rightful place on the industrial site.
Following constructive dialogues with different parties involved, we handed in a new application request for an environmental permit on 18 February 2019 at the Deputation of the province of Antwerp. A key element of our application was the Environmental Impact Assessment (in Dutch MER) that had been prepared by independent experts in various fields: air, noise, mobility, ground and waste water, soil, fauna and flora. Since our production site had been operational since its start-up in 2017, this new Environmental Impact Assessment study enabled us to review the predictions made in the previous MER (before our production site was built) against the current, actual situation.
From the construction of our production site onwards, we had of course taken all necessary measures to comply with current, strict legislation. The new environmental permit application even contains additional efforts on our behalf, in the form of new investments that will increasingly reduce the impact on our surroundings, near and far. This includes: the installation of additional air washers on the stables’ ventilation air flow, further optimization of the existing air washer, the installation of a biofilter on the water treatment system and the construction of a new access road with a green buffer for the supply transport of pigs.
On 18 July 2019, the Deputation of the province of Antwerp unanimously granted the new environmental permit to Sus Campiniae, based on the positive recommendations of various independent agencies and the ‘Provinciale Omgevingsvergunningscommissie’. We are delighted with this unanimous decision. This vote of confidence allows us to keep running the production site with a minimal impact on its surroundings. You can find more information in our press release.
You can find more information on our additional investments in the tab ‘Investments’.
You can find more information about the content of our Environmental Impact Assessment in the tab ‘MER’.
You can find more information about our new environmental permit application in the tab ‘Procedure’.
Our new environmental permit application was declared complete and admissible by the Deputation of the province of Antwerp on 5 April 2019. In the procedure’s framework and as usual, the commune of Westerlo subsequently opened a public inquiry. This public inquiry takes 30 days. As part of the inquiry, an information meeting was organised on 2 May 2019 in De Biehal, Sint-Michielsstraat 8 in Oevel. We were happy to elaborate on our new environmental permit application to the general public. We value your opinion and listen carefully to any possible concerns, as we have always done in the past. The Deputation of the province of Antwerp will subsequently decide on our environmental permit application within 120 calendar days following the ‘complete and admissible’ declaration.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (in Dutch MER) was a key element in our new environmental permit application. The MER report had been prepared by independent experts in various fields: air, noise, mobility, ground and wastewater, soil, fauna and flora. The new MER study enabled us to go beyond previous predictions that had been made in the original MER before we started building our production site. The measurements that were taken by independent experts while the production site was in operation give a specific and accurate image of the possible effects of our activities on our surroundings.
You can find more information on the different subparts of the Environmental Impact Assessment here.
You can find more information about the aspects ‘Air’ and ‘Mobility’ below the tab ‘Investments’.
Wherever there is movement and activity, there is noise. The main sources of noise in our company come from the water treatment system and the trucks that ensure our production site’s transport to and fro. Measurements have shown that the noise levels in our surroundings are entirely due to the highway E313. Our production site has next to no influence on the overall noise climate.
Water is essential in our company’s activities as we aim for maximum hygiene. We extract groundwater from a depth of 90 m. Research indicates that this has no effect on the quantity nor quality of the groundwater. Our water-saving measures ensure that we extract no more groundwater than needed to meet our high-quality and hygiene standards.
We have our own biological water treatment facility to purify our wastewater. We purify large quantities of our wastewater to the level of drinking water that is subsequently reused in our production flow. The remaining, equally purified wastewater is discharged into the Zandvoort waterway. This does not imply any risk of flooding, as the waterway’s flow rate is sufficiently large. In the unlikely event of problems caused by a heavy downpour, our flexible system allows to halt discharges at any given time for as long as necessary.
Fauna and flora:
As our company is located in an industrial estate, the production site has next to no effect on its surrounding fauna and flora. Moreover, there are no natural conservation monuments nor areas within a 2 km radius of the site.
Soil testing – carried out by an independent research agency – found that Sus Campiniae’s operations have no or merely negligible effects on soil quality, land use and soil capacity.
Based on the recommendations of independent MER-experts and our actual situation, we have decided to make additional investments. These have also been included in the environmental permit application and focus on the aspects ‘Air’ and ‘Mobility’ of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Installation of additional air washers on the stables’ ventilation air
We understand that odour is one of our neighbour’s main concerns. Following an extensive study and in consultation with a recognised odour expert, we decided to invest in additional air washers that, together with the current air washer, will reduce odour impact on our surroundings even more. The current air washer is also being optimised.
Installation of a biofilter on our water treatment system
We will add a biofilter to our water treatment facility. This will reduce any possible odour impact on our surroundings even more.
Construction of a new access road for transport of pigs
In the future, we will no longer supply pigs to our company via the current access route. Parallel to the current one, we will build a new access road with a direct connection to the Nijverheidsstraat. The access road will be shielded by a green buffer zone.
We firmly believe that these additional investments will allow Sus Campiniae and its 100 employees to continue its operations with a minimal impact on our surroundings.