ZRENJANIN, Serbia—Linglong's $943 million tire factory in Zrenjanin continues to draw criticism from environmentalists who are challenging the legality of the approval process for the facility's plans.
Environmental group Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute claimed Zrenjanin authorities "illegally prevented" people from participating in a Sept. 4 public hearing on the environmental impact assessment study for the project.
RERI Project Assistant Tamara Bosic said citizens attempting to register environmental concerns surrounding the project were stopped by members of security and police. She alleged in a written statement that 50 people wishing to submit comments on the environmental impact assessment were prevented from attending the public consultation at the City of Zrenjanin assembly hall.
Under COVID-19 restrictions in Serbia, a maximum number of 30 people are allowed to assemble indoors, and 18 Linglong representatives already were inside, Bosic said.
"However, according to the Serbian law if the conditions for safe public consultations are not fulfilled, the public authorities shall postpone the presentations until the conditions are met," she said.
For commercial projects such as the construction of the tire factory, she said, "the city administration was required to postpone the public consultation or to meet all legally binding procedures."
Belgrade, Serbia-based RERI previously challenged local authorities' granting of planning permits for Linglong to establish a major tire plant in Zrenjanin, before the submission of environmental impact assessment studies.