Environmental permit issued for CATL plant in Debrecen

An environmental permit applying "stricter conditions than ever before" has been issued for a battery plant China's CATL will build in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, the Hajdu-Bihar County Government Office said on Monday.

The licensing procedure, among the “most thorough” of all official clearance processes, “ensures the investment complies with the strictest environmental protection conditions”, the office said in a statement.

The permit imposes a number of obligations on the investor related to protection of soil, air and water, it said.

“In a number of instances, the authority decided to require compliance with stricter thresholds than those stipulated by law and prescribed more frequent checks,” the office added.

The decision on the issue of the permit will become final on February 18.

CATL announced plans in last August to build a more than 7 billion euro, 100 GWh battery plant in Hungary’s second-largest city.

Opposition Parbeszed sharply criticised the issuance of the environmental permit, raising environmental and energy use concerns.

Co-leader Rebeka Szabo told a press conference that the plant’s water demand was as yet unknown, but “according to the most conservative estimates” it could total at 40,000 cubic metres a day. “It is also unclear what percentage of the amount of water could be provided from waste water,” she said.

The plant would also use electricity equivalent to one-third of the annual production of the Paks nuclear power plant, she said, and expressed concerns over the disposal of used batteries.

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