‘The Nijmegen Asphalt Plant is closed until it is established that health is not in danger’

APN Asphalt Center in Nijmegen © Roel Van Tel

Nijmegen – The controversial APN asphalt plant in Nijmegen must prove that asphalt production does not endanger the health of the local population. That is the gist of a letter a lawyer sent to the asphalt plant on behalf of local residents on Friday.

If the asphalt producer is unable to do so, the locals want to force the plant to close immediately through the courts. “This may be the end result,” attorney Karen Sheppros tells locals. “Then you have to ask yourself whether you shouldn’t shut down the plant for a while until the problem is resolved.”

Citizens also have to abide by the law

According to the lawyer, the significance of the lawyer’s letter dropped on the mat at APN’s asphalt plant in Nijmegen is not at all surprising. Compare entrepreneurs and citizens. After all, the latter must also abide by the law. “The moment the odometer is broken and you don’t know exactly how fast you’re actually driving, but you know the norm is fifty kilometers an hour in a residential area, you’re not going to continue driving happily.”

Locals want to see proof that emissions are safe

‘The Nijmegen Asphalt Plant is closed until it is established that health is not in danger’

Amazed at the lack of work

Residents of Nijmegen, very concerned about their health, see food immediately disappearing from supermarkets or the closure of livestock farms, for example, when their safety is doubted. “That wouldn’t apply when you’re emanating cancer-causing garbage from the people of Nijmegen. We find that very strange,” sighs Roel van Tel of Vereniging Dorpsbelang Hees. He and others have been fighting for healthy air in his living environment for years. Substances that come out of the chimney are on the RIVM List of Substances of Great Concern.

“Indeed, the municipality should act”

It is painful for the locals to feel compelled to take legal action against the asphalt plant in their area. “Actually, we shouldn’t do that at all,” van Tiel notes the frustration he and others feel in West Nijmegen. “Indeed, the municipality must take action here. To say the least: dear citizens, we will stand before you and work to ensure that this company is treated.”

Attorney Ciprose also sees the passivity of the government it must enforce. “Yeah, that’s crazy,” she says. “What I just said: That citizen who’s driving, he can’t get away with it. If you knew there was potential damage, in my opinion, it’s also true that you’d have to act faster to prevent that damage.”

The factory takes concerns seriously

The APN Nijmegen asphalt plant is still contemplating a response to the legal action locals are now taking against the company. The company stresses that it takes the concerns of the residents of the area seriously and that they receive their full attention. Further measurements and research are carried out in consultation with the municipality of Nijmegen. Recycling old asphalt into new asphalt production is a point of interest, as this releases more toxic substances.

Adjustments

On the advice of two specialist companies, APN adjusted the production process in September. This action has been taken on the basis of the latest insights and APN expects positive effects from this. According to the Arab Press Network, this is the first time that such a measure has been taken at an asphalt plant in the Netherlands.

According to APN, new measurements show emissions are now within the standard. “Although the measured emissions are within base and well below the last measurement taken by ODRN in June 2021, both APN and the municipality recognized that the plant is close to a residential area,” the company said in a statement. The APN wants to discuss an additional common approach and next steps with the municipality.

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