Third court case launched against Tata Steel, calls for closure

The Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden is a major source of CO2. Photo:

A third lawsuit against Tata Steel is being prepared by people living close to the IJmuiden plant, and they want the most polluting activities at the site closed immediately, news website said on Monday.

Repeated research has shown that people living close to the plant have shorter, more unhealthy lives, particularly in the seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee.

“We are continually listening to the same record: ‘we can’t do anything’,” Antoinette Verbrugge director of campaign group Gezondheid op 1, told “But we live in continuous danger. Everyone knows it but it is not something the government and Tata Steel will say out loud.”

“The state is failing in all aspects of its duty of care,” she said.

Gezondheid op 1 says it feels supported by a memo published by public health institute RIVM on Friday, which said that the fine particulate pollution produced by Tata Steel is “reasonably similar” to that produced by a notorious steel plant in Taranto, Italy.

Parts of that factory were closed and several managers sent to jail for environmental crimes. The European Court of Justice has yet to rule on a case brought by locals, but a senior advisor has said that factories should not be given permits if they cause serious health effects.

Two other cases are also pending against Tata Steel. One was launched by lawyer Benedicte Ficq in 2021 on behalf of some 800 locals and a criminal investigation started in 2022.

Another group of some 1,400 locals are preparing a mass claim against the company. That process was launched last year.

In March 2023, the RIVM said locals living in the vicinity of the steel works are still being exposed to dust containing high concentrations of carcinogenic substances, with children in Wijk aan Zee most at risk.

High levels of polycarbon-based pollutants and metals, including lead, were found in coarse dust particles deposited in Beverwijk, Velsen-Noord and IJmuiden, and particularly in Wijk aan Zee, the latest of two probes carried by the the public health institute in 2022 showed.

MPs are due to debate the future of Tata Steel on Thursday.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation