The Supreme Court’s ruling declares “without value or effect” the judgment handed down by the National Court in 2021 (in which the Court declared the nullity of the aforementioned extension of Ence Pontevedra’s concession). Thus, the Supreme Court’s decision dismisses the contentious-administrative appeal filed against the extension of the concession and confirms that the resolution granting the extension is in accordance with the legal system.
In short, the full text of the ruling is in line with the communiqué published by the Supreme Court on 7 February. Thus, it is a final judgment, which establishes case law and endorses the validity of the extension of Ence Pontevedra.
At the same time, the judgment rules on the question of the State Attorney’s Office’s acquiescence, an issue raised by Ence in its appeal. In this regard, the Court asserts that, following the acquiescence, the State Attorney’s Office was not entitled to continue to intervene in the legal proceedings, also acting as the plaintiff, as this is contrary to the procedural rules governing the figure of acquiescence and the very nature of the same.
The judicial process validating the extension of the concession of the Pontevedra biofactory is a legal-administrative matter, not an environmental one, contrary to what the plaintiffs have tried to convey in the media outside the judicial process.
It is a biofactory that amply complies with all current regulations and has received environmental awards such as the European Commission’s Gold Distinction for its environmental performance, the Nordic Swan ecolabel and Aenor’s “Zero Waste” certificate, among others. It is also the leading company in sustainability in the pulp sector worldwide according to the latest rating by Sustainalytics.
The Supreme Court ruling itself expressly refers to the company’s compliance with environmental requirements, and specifically points out that “they are not only covered by the required regional report” but also by “the granting of the integrated environmental authorisation and its review”, as stipulated in Law 16/2002. It also refers to the environmental investments, amounting to 135 million euros, executed at the time by Ence.
As the company stated a month ago, after learning of the High Court’s decision, the Supreme Court’s rulings clear up the uncertainty over the future of this facility and the 5,100 families linked to its activity. They also provide the company with the necessary security to undertake its future plans for this biofactory and the rest of the group.
The company will continue to focus on creating sustainable wealth and employment in Galicia through the activity of this plant, which will always remain at the forefront of efficiency, best available technologies and sustainability.
Ence will also proactively engage in an open dialogue with the society with which it lives and, in line with its strong commitment to the community with which it lives, will immediately reactivate the Pontevedra Social Plan.