Stricter environmental rules for Tata: emissions must be reduced

The new environmental regulations for Tata Steel in IJmuiden are intended to improve the quality of life in the IJmond region. Emissions of harmful substances must be reduced.

That is what State Secretary Steven van Weyenberg of Infrastructure and Water Management wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives today. Because of the rules, Tata will have to adjust the production lines earlier than it intended, is the idea.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) issued a shocking report in September. That concluded that the dust showers that descend in the vicinity of the steel company can have an ‘undesirable effect’ on the health of children. The amount of harmful particles is particularly high in Wijk aan Zee.


According to the new rules, lead emissions must be reduced more quickly. That should be 70 percent less by the end of 2023. In Tata’s own plans, that would only be achieved in 2025.

Emissions of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) must be reduced by 50 percent by 2022. This was 30 percent in Tata’s own plans.

The national government and the province of North Holland have made firm agreements with Tata, the State Secretary said.

RIVM must investigate next year whether there is less dust that has settled in the area. Among other things, Wijk aan Zee, which is located right next to the Tata complex, suffers a lot from this. According to the new rules, other pollution is also monitored more closely.

Hydrogen takes a long time

Tata Steel announced in recent months that it would accelerate the conversion of the factory. The blast furnaces no longer have to be heated with coal or natural gas, but with the help of hydrogen.

This means that emissions should disappear almost completely in the long term. In 2030, one of the two blast furnaces would have been replaced and by 2050 almost all emissions should have disappeared. But that is taking too long for the Secretary of State.


Hans van den Berg, director of Tata Steel in IJmuiden, says it will be possible to comply with the new rules. “Adjustments have already been made to reduce lead and PAH emissions. Or will they be done in the short term.”

Tata says it is in continuous consultation with the ministry and the province and does not think that extra efforts are needed with the current tightening of the rules.

local residents

Local residents are deeply disappointed in what the State Secretary has now come up with. According to Hans Dellevoet of the village council in Wijk aan Zee, these are ‘soft promises that are difficult to measure’. “And it gets worse before it gets better.”

“Many promises were already coming,” he says. “It is unacceptable to us that the coke gas factory remains open until 2030. That is a medieval technique.”

Van den Berg says he understands the local residents. “They want everything to be adjusted today. But what we are doing now is the fastest imaginable pace.”

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