10 August 2023

Final ruling of the Dutch Council of State in Porthos nitrogen case on Wednesday

The Dutch Council of State will make a final ruling in the nitrogen case on CO2 transport and storage project Porthos on Wednesday, 16 August. The Council of State will rule on whether the ecological assessment sufficiently demonstrates that the nitrogen deposition of Porthos does not have a significant effect on protected natural areas, and whether this will render the necessary permits for the project irrevocable.

The ruling will be made on Wednesday from 10:10 to 10:15 a.m. and can be watched, in Dutch only, via a livestream on the YouTube channel on the Council of State. The link to the livestream will be published on this website on Wednesday. The full text of the ruling will be published, in Dutch only, on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. on the website of the Council of State.

In November 2021, nature organisation Mobilisation for the Environment (MOB) filed a case against Porthos’s use of the construction exemption. In November 2022, the Council of State ruled that the construction exemption lapses entirely because it violates European nature conservation law. Porthos was granted a remedial opportunity in the form of an ecological assessment.

The question before us is whether Porthos’s nitrogen deposition will affect nearby natural areas. The ecological assessment concludes that the minor and one-off nitrogen deposition during the construction of Porthos will not have a significant impact on surrounding natural areas. The Council of State will rule on Wednesday whether it considers that the ecological assessment sufficiently demonstrates this.

Porthos is important for achieving the Netherlands’ 2030 climate goals. The storage of CO2 in empty gas fields beneath the North Sea reduces CO2 emissions by 2.5 Mtonnes a year. The nitrogen case has caused delays to the project. Once the necessary permits are irrevocable, Porthos will take a Final Investment Decision (FID) and start construction of the infrastructure. Porthos is expected to be operational from 2026. This will make Porthos the first large-scale CO2 transport and storage project in the Netherlands.

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