Limiting nuisance and inconvenience Cosun has a total of 35 production sites in the Netherlands and abroad. Their large-scale industrial processes are sometimes a source of nuisance to local residents.

Where factories are located close to residential areas, local residents may sometimes be inconvenienced by odours or noise. The transport of raw materials can also be a source of nuisance to people who live along the delivery routes to and from the factories. More than 80% of our production sites did not receive a single complaint in 2016. However, this also means that complaints were made about the other factories.

The number of complaints rose to 168 in 2016. Most of them related to the production sites that had also received the most complaints in previous years. The increase is an unwelcome development and suggests that residents were inconvenienced more than in the past. Complaints were received by Aviko’s fries factory in Lomm, Suiker Unie’s site in Vierverlaten and, for the first time, the sugar factory in Anklam (Germany).

Another issue arose at Aviko’s site in Steenderen. Several residents objected to the proposed construction of a new cold storage at the fries factory there, and about its height in particular. These objections do not qualify as complaints and are therefore not included in the figure above.

The Aviko production site in Lomm received more complaints about odour nuisance in 2016 than in 2015. Odour has been a problem there for several years. In 2014, the company studied the feasibility and effectiveness of a range of measures to reduce the odour nuisance. Several options were piloted in 2015. The results indicated that building a new chimney would be the most effective solution and could reduce the odour nuisance by about 80%. Aviko intended to start building the chimney in 2016 but its plans have had to be put back until 2017 at the earliest as a building permit has not yet been issued.

Suiker Unie
Suiker Unie also received more complaints last year than in the previous year. Most of them related to the factory in Vierverlaten, with more than half of those complaints being about odours from the biomass digester. Complaints were also made about odours from its water treatment and Betacal storage. Transport to and from the factory was also an inconvenience to local residents. Talks between representatives of the residents and specialists from Suiker Unie have made a demonstrable contribution to the good relations between the factory and the residents. Talks with the focus group enabled Suiker Unie to take targeted measures to minimise the odour nuisance caused by the biomass digester. Representatives of the local community in Hoogkerk were also contacted to discuss complaints. The residents were regularly invited to take a look in and around the factory. This is always a popular activity, especially when the visitors learn that the factory is investing in measures to reduce the nuisance. The sugar factory in Anklam received its first complaints during the year. Complaints had apparently already been made to the regional authorities but they had not been passed on to the factory. In view of the new permit applications it has been agreed to give the complaints priority and tackle the nuisance where possible.

Aviko’s substantial investment programme includes the construction of a new cold storage facility at its factory in Steenderen. This large-scale storage capacity will cut the energy required to freeze products and will avoid the need to transport products to more distant storage sites. The initial plans and permit applications were submitted to the local municipality – Bronckhorst – before 2016. The residents of Steenderen were also informed about the building plans. The municipality has approved the plans and revised the zoning plan. Some residents are concerned about the size of the cold storage building. In particular they object to its planned height of 35 metres. Aviko has consulted their representatives but has been unable to prevent the matter going to court. Separately from the court’s decision, which is expected later this year, Aviko wants to remain in talks with the residents to discuss their concerns. It goes without saying that it will carry out the planting and management work included in the zoning plan. Aviko has concluded a voluntary agreement with the municipality to study what extra planting measures it can take to design the planned new building into the landscape.