battery industry

Court revokes environmental permit, battery factory in Göd should suspend its operations

The ten-year environmental permit for the Samsung factory in Göd, issued last December, has been challenged by the local nonprofit Göd-ÉRT Association in a court action. The NGO has asked the court to order immediate legal protection for the duration of the lawsuit and to ban the Samsung factory from using the environment. The Budapest District Court ruled that the NGO’s application was well-founded and ordered a stay of the proceedings until the end of the case. The plant is currently operating without a valid permit, locals are asking the authorities and Samsung SDI to suspend its operations.

Göd-ÉRT Association had taken the Samsung SDI battery factory to court over the environmental permit issued last December. The NGO argued that neither Hungarian nor European environmental standards were met by the factory’s operation.

According to the association, the Pest County Government Office did not take into account, among other things, the plant’s long-standing noise pollution when issuing the permit, and was also overly permissive in terms of air and water pollution, and battery waste from the production process.

The action brought by the Göd civilians asked the court to order an independent forensic environmental expert to provide an expert opinion on the unclear issues. In addition, the NGO asked the court to prohibit the Samsung factory from using the environment – i.e. to order a suspension of activities – during the duration of the permit dispute.

The association has now announced that the Budapest District Court has ruled that the application is well-founded and has ordered the suspension of the action in its entirety, i.e. it has suspended the environmental permit for Samsung SDI Zrt.’s Göd factory pending the outcome of the case.

According to the court order, the enforcement of the decision on the environmental permit would cause significant harm to the citizens.

The battery factory cannot operate without this permit

According to the NGO, following the court ruling, which banned the Göd factory from using the environment, the authority should order the suspension of the plant’s operation. The association has also sent a letter to the Pest County Government Office and Samsung Hungary Zrt. calling on them to shut down the Göd factory.

It is not only the continuation of the factory’s activities that will be affected by the court decision. According to reports in the South Korean press, Samsung SDI is preparing to build a third factory in Göd.

The process of obtaining permission to modify the environmental permit for the construction of the new 43,000 square metre halls has also started. According to the Government Office’s announcement, Samsung SDI will set up 4 new battery cell production lines, increasing its cell production capacity to 157 thousand tonnes per year, which represents a 20% increase in capacity.

However, the fact that the environmental permit is not in force means that there is currently no legal basis for carrying out a new procedure for the extension of the factory and issuing an amended permit.

Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, more detailed Hungarian version of this story was written by Zsuzsa Bodnár and can be found here. The article was produced with the support of the Union Values Programme. Cover photo: aerial view of the battery factory in Göd.