BELGRADE, Serbia — A Serbian environmental group is suing Chinese tire maker Shandong Linglong Tire Co. and others for carrying out construction work without a permit on Linglong's proposed tire factory in Zrenjanin, Serbia.
Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) also has pressed charges against contractor China Energy Engineering Group Tianjin Electric Power Construction Co. Ltd. and private equity firm CRE International Ltd. of Belgrade.
Linglong's plan to build a tire factory in Zrenjanin has been the focus of a continuing dispute between local authorities and environmentalists challenging the approval process for the $994 million project. In its latest legal challenge, RERI claimed that a site examination in July determined the Chinese tire maker "was performing construction work contrary to the construction permit."
The inspector, it said, ordered the investor to suspend works and requested modifications to the construction permit.
RERI also alleged that Linglong started the construction work without carrying out an environmental impact assessment study.
The group further claimed that Zrenjanin city authorities had "illegally prevented" people from participating in an Oct. 4 public hearing on the environmental impact assessment study for the project.
Linglong disclosed in April it had 320 acres of land in the Zrenjanin Free Trade Zone for the plant, which is to be built in three phases over six years. The plant itself will span 4.24 million square feet, Linglong said.
Zrenjanin is a city of about 75,000 in north-central Serbian roughly 50 miles north of Belgrade.
Linglong has thus far not responded to requests for comment on this legal action.