INEOS’ Director Tom Crotty wrote in October last year to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, threatening to shut down the petrochemical plant Seal Sands close to Middleborough, unless his company was awarded exemptions from the EU’s waste incineration and waste water emission standards.
INEOS is the largest privately-owned company in the UK and also the largest petrochemical firm in the EU. A report by the UK Environment Agency showed the company accumulated 176 permit violations between 2014 and 2017; among them, 90 were related to water and air pollution and said to be “well over legal limits”.
INEOS’ Director Crotty argued that the abovementioned pieces of EU legislation would require additional costs for technical adaptation of over €100m, that would not be economically viable as the manufacturing plant in Middlesbrough is not profitable. He therefore claimed the plant is doomed to close down, leaving around 2,350 people unemployed. In this context, he asked for the UK Government’s support to “defer compliance with EU’s regulations”.
Labour MP, Mary Creagh, described the situation as regrettable, given that INEOS registered a profit of £2bn pounds last year. She also added “this could explain why INEOS chief, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, supports Brexit”.
Unearthed, a Greenpeace UK journalism project, published the INEOS’ Director letter