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Government: Decree on environmental protection deferments excludes battery plants

The head of the Prime Minister's Office has issued a decree excluding battery plants from signing a contract that allows polluting companies to defer the remediation of environmental breaches rather than face a fine.

The contract to temporarily opt out of implementing some environmental rules is designed to protect several thousand families whose livelihoods depend on rescuing the troubled Dunaferr steel plant, it said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said on Tuesday that the contract must serve job protection but also contain clear guarantees on enforcing environmental protection.

“Propagandistic statements misleading the public” concerning the contracts were directed at “intentionally whipping up political hysteria”, the ministry added.

Recently, the (ruling Fidesz) mayor of Debrecen, Laszlo Papp, urged the government to exclude battery plants from the option of signing the contract.

The mayor of the eastern Hungarian city said Hungary’s “strictest environmental protection permit that goes far beyond European Union regulations” had been created in Debrecen in respect of the future CATL battery plant.

He said the government had promised to amend the decree and ensure it only applied to metal plants.

“Efforts to save Dunaferr are important, but should not be made at the expense of slipping out of environmental protection rules,” he said, adding that battery plants should definitely be bound by strict rules.

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