Many responses to report Tata, ‘independent body must measures emissions’

The village council of Wijk aan Zee wants Tata Steels emissions to be measured from now on by an independent government agency. The RIVM sees much higher concentrations of metals and carcinogens in the vicinity of Tata Steel than what it expected based on the companys emissions figures. As stipulated in the law, the steel mill itself supplies the emission data.

In the case of metals, the difference between up to a factor of 5 for lead and chromium varies to a factor of 50 for copper. The latter means that 50 times more copper has been measured than the RIVM calculated on the basis of the annual environmental reports of Tata Steel. In the case of a collection of carcinogens (so-called PAHs), it is a factor of 10 to a factor of 1000 in a single case.

โ€œThis gap between the measured values and the calculated one is most striking,โ€ says Linda Valent of the Village Council. โ€œThat data was provided by Tata Steel himself. If that doesnt match reality, were all sent in the cane with a clod.โ€

โ€œWe have not trusted Tata Steel for a long time and this report confirms that there is at least smoke,โ€ responds Sanne Walvisch from Stichting Frisse, a driving force behind a lawsuit against the steel company. According to lawyer Benediqte Ficq of Frisse, this report is in line with what residents are afraid of. Namely that Tata Steel does not report properly or insufficiently.

Tata Steel writes in a response that emissions are calculated on the basis of legally approved calculation models. The measurements are carried out by accredited measuring agencies. โ€œWe think we can get the big sources with that,โ€ says Tata Steel Netherlands director Hans van den Berg. โ€œWe have based our improvement program on that too.โ€ The steel company will allocate 300 million euros to reduce odour nuisance and the emissions of harmful substances and lead, among other things.

About the differences, Van den Berg says: โ€œWe have to explain it to see what is going on and how we can act on that. But first, we need to understand.โ€ The director wants to check with the RIVM as soon as possible the differences between their own emission measurements and those of the research institute.

Better map

The province of North Holland and the municipalities of Beverwijk, Heemskerk and Velsen want to better map out the emissions of steel works Tata Steel. One of the measuring points in Wijk aan Zee will be expanded this year to better measure the emissions of so-called coke factories. These are obsolete and are seen as major polluters. The so-called air measuring network is also evaluated. That is still focused on annual air quality averages, which means that outliers are not well reflected in it.

Responsible deputy Jeroen OIthof of the province of Noord-Holland: โ€œI am concerned about the difference between the amount of PAK and metals measured and the calculated concentrations based on emission registration. Together with the IJmond Gemeenten, I will discuss with the Government about the recommendations of the RIVM to improve emission registration.โ€

The province also says to tighten Tata Steels permit where possible. According to the province, the question of whether the current emission registration system meets lies with the Government.


fact that there is a big difference between what is measured in the environment, and what was expected based on figures supplied by Tata, is bycatch in the RIVM study presented today. The main conclusion is that Tata Steel is the largest source of metals and cancer-causing substances in the IJmond.

In a response, Secretary of State Heijnen of Infrastructure says she will keep Tata at the speed in the improvements proposed by the company itself. โ€œWe already knew that air quality was poor, but now it is clear that Tata is largely responsible for this.โ€

Among other things, Tata Steel has promised to halve the emissions of carcinogens this year compared to 2019, and lead emissions should be 70 percent less next year than in 2019.

According to Heijnen, there will be two measuring moments this year, when the ministry wants to objectively determine the progress that Tata is making. The first measurement is for the summer, the second at the end of the year.

Conversation about differences

The Secretary of State further emphasises that the province is primarily on the move for supervision and enforcement. The ministry does want to support the province so that the controls are also done properly.

Heijnen still wants to talk to Tata and the RIVM about how it is possible that the institute sees higher concentrations of metals and carcinogens than it expected on the basis of figures from the company itself. Not only will she be going around the table with Tata herself soon, butalso with the province and local residents.