Environment Permit Decree
25 APRIL 2014. - Decree concerning the Environment Permit

CHAPTER 1.
Introductory provisions



Article 1.

This Decree governs a regional matter.


Article 2.

The following definitions shall apply for the purposes of this Decree:

public concerned: any natural or legal person and any association, organisation or group having legal personality that is affected or likely to be affected by or has an interest in the decision on the issuing or updating of an Environment Permit or licensing conditions, whereby non-governmental organisations promoting environmental protection shall be deemed to have an interest;
secured dispatch: one of the following methods of service:
  a) a registered letter;
  b) submission in person with proof of receipt;
  c) any other service method authorised by the Government of Flanders in which the date of notification can be established with certainty;
DABM: the decree of 5 April 1995 containing general provisions on environmental policy;
final decision: a decision against which an organised administrative appeal can no longer be lodged and which, with regard to the right to continue the operation of the classified establishment or activity as stated in Article 70, § 1, second paragraph, and Article 390, § 6 , has not been destroyed in whole or in part initially by the Board of Permit Disputes and insofar as the decisions in first and second administrative instance permitted further operation. The right to further exploitation ceases definitively when the Board of Permit Disputes decides the suspension of the permit or after a maximum period of five months after the first decision of the Board of Permit Disputes;
municipal projects: the projects restrictively designated by the Government of Flanders for which the bench of Mayor and Aldermen is authorised to take decisions at the first administrative instance;
notification deed: the document showing that the competent authority has explicitly or tacitly taken note of a notification;
Environment Permit: the written decision of the licensing authority authorising a project that requires a permit;
project: all of the following elements or at least one of them that are subject to the permit or notification requirement stated in Article 5:
  a) urban planning actions;
  b) the operation of classified establishments or activities;
  c) retail activities;
  d) changing the vegetation;
  or the parcelling out of land;
provincial projects: the projects restrictively designated by the Government of Flanders for which the deputation is authorised to take decisions at the first administrative instance;
10° VCRO: the Flemish Spatial [Town & Country] Planning Code;
11° Flemish projects: the projects restrictively designated by the Government of Flanders for which the Government of Flanders is authorised to take decisions at the first administrative instance.

 

Unless a contrary definition is provided by this Decree, the following definitions apply in this Decree:

the definitions stated in articles 1.1.2 and 4.1.1 of the VCRO;
the definitions stated in articles 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the DABM.
the definitions stated in article 2 of the decree of 15 July concerning the integral commercial establishment policy.
the definitions stated in article 2 of the decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment.

Article 3.

The purpose of this Decree is to bring about the efficient, purposeful and integrated granting of permits that contributes to the objectives stated in:

Article 1.1.4 of the VCRO;
Article 5.1.3 of the DABM;

Article 4 of the decree of 15 July on the integral commercial establishment policy;

Article 6 of the Decree of 21 October 1997 concerning the conservation of nature and the natural environment.

 

This Decree shall be without prejudice to the substantive obligations established under or by virtue of:

Title IV of the VCRO;
Title V of the DABM;
the Decree of 15 July concerning the integral commercial establishment policy;
the Decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment.

 

For projects that fall within the scope of a European regulation, the provisions of this Decree shall apply to the extent that they are complementary to the provisions of the applicable regulation.


Article 4.

Within the limits of the budget, the Government of Flanders shall grant subsidies to local authorities for the additional costs associated with the preparation, organisation and execution of this Decree.


These subsidies can be used for additional investments and for personnel and operating costs for processing and assessing Environment Permits.


The Government of Flanders shall establish the more specific rules for the application of this article.


Article 5.

This Decree applies to projects that are subject to:

the permit requirement, namely for:
  a)   the performance of urban development actions as stated in article 4.2.1 of the VCRO;
  b)   the parcelling of land as stated in article 4.2.15 of the VCRO;
  c)   the operation of a classified facility or activity of the first or second category as stated in article 5.2.1 of the DABM;
  d)   retail activities subject to a permit as referred to in article 11 of the decree of 15 July on the integral commercial establishment policy;
  e)   changes to the vegetation subject to a permit, stated in Article 9bis, § 7, and Article 13, § 4 and § 5, of the Decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment.
the notification requirement, namely for:
  a)   the performance of urban development actions as stated in articles 4.2.2 and 4.2.4 of the VCRO;
  b)   the operation of the classified establishment or activity of the third category as stated in article 5.2.1 of the DABM.

 


Section 2.
Permit and notification obligation


Article 6.

Without a prior Environment Permit, no one may carry out, operate, parcel out or make a permit-requiring change to a project that is subject to a permit requirement by or pursuant to the decrees referred to in Article 5.

 

No one may implement, operate or make a notifiable change to a project that is subject to a notification obligation by or pursuant to the decrees referred to in Article 5, without prior express or tacit certification.
 


Article 7.

§ 1.
Without prejudice to the application of article 5.2.1, § 3 and § 4 of the DABM, the Environment Permit shall serve as acknowledgement for that part of the project subject to notification if the project is subject to both the notification and the permit requirement.
 
§ 2.
If the project contains elements that are subject to multiple licensing or notification obligations, by or pursuant to the decrees referred to in Article 5, and those aspects are inextricably linked, the application for a permit will include the aspects concerned under penalty of inadmissibility if at least one element of the application requires a permit.
 
The obligation to submit jointly, stated in the first paragraph, does not apply to applications for or reporting of urban development activities and the operation of classified establishments or activities that are only necessary during the implementation phase of the project. If an environmental impact statement has to be drawn up for the project and the environmental impact statement makes relevant statements about the method of implementation, the aim is to submit jointly with regard to the aspects that are dealt with in the environmental impact statement
 


Section 3.
Project meeting


Article 8.

In preparation for a permit application, if a realistic project study is available, the initiator can ask the competent authority stated in article 15 to organise a project meeting with the advisory bodies appointed pursuant to article 24.


The purpose of the project meeting is to coordinate procedures between the authorities concerned and discuss any project adjustments required or deemed useful.


The competent authority stated in article 15 can invite third-party stakeholders to a project meeting, either on its own initiative or at the request of the initiator.


The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules in relation to the project meeting and in so doing can limit its scope.


Article 9.
Appointment of municipal, provincial and regional environmental official


Translation not available

Article 9/1.

Each province appoints at least one provincial environmental officer by provincial council decision.

 

The province ensures that the appointed staff members collectively combine sufficient knowledge of both spatial planning and the environment. The Government of Flanders can establish the quality requirements that provide evidence of this knowledge.

 

The provincial environmental officer performs the duties stated in this decree independently and neutrally. He must not be disadvantaged by the exercise of his duties.
 


Article 10.

The Government of Flanders shall appoint one or more regional environmental officials.


The Government of Flanders shall ensure that the appointed official or officials jointly combine sufficient knowledge of both spatial planning and the environment. The Government of Flanders can establish the quality requirements that provide evidence of this knowledge.


The regional environmental official shall perform the tasks mentioned in this Decree in an independent and neutral manner. He must not be disadvantaged by the exercise of his duties.


Section 5.
Environmental Fund and dossier taxes


Article 11.

§1.

An Environment Fund shall be established. The Environment Fund is a budgetary fund within the meaning of the provisions of Article 15, §2 of the Flemish Code of Public Finances of 29 March 2019.

 

§2.

The resources available to the Environmental Fund are:

the balance of the Environmental Fund available as of 31 December of the year preceding the budgetary year;

all receipts resulting from the application of this Decree;

other resources allocated to the fund by virtue of statutory and decreed provisions.

 

§3.

The resources of the Environmental Fund shall be used for policy costs associated with the preparation, organisation and execution of this Decree.

 

§4.

The Government of Flanders manages the Environmental Fund.


It shall provide the necessary administrative and logistical support for the Environmental Fund and can, in accordance with the applicable rules, delegate some of its powers to the senior official appointed for that purpose.

§5. The Government of Flanders shall establish the organic rules that apply to the financial and material management of the Environmental Fund.


Article 12.

§1.
Any natural or legal person shall owe a file tax in the following cases:

when submitting a permit application in the first instance to the Government of Flanders or the regional environmental official;
when lodging an appeal against a decision in first instance regarding an application for an Environment Permit, except in the case of an appeal against a tacit refusal;
when lodging an appeal against a decision in the first instance regarding a request for an update, except in the case of an appeal against an implied refusal.

 
The appellants stated in article 53, 3° to 6° inclusive shall not owe a file tax.

§2.
The file tax shall amount to:

in the case of an application as stated in paragraph 1, 1° that is processed in accordance with the usual procedure: EUR 500;
 in all other cases referred to in paragraph 1: EUR 100.

 

§3.
The file tax shall be paid into the following account:

the account of the province in the case of appeals to the deputation;
the account of the Environmental Fund in the case of applications or appeals to the Government of Flanders.

 

§4.

The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules regarding the file tax.

 


Section 6.
Administrative loop


Article 13.

If the competent authority stated in article 15 or article 52 establishes that an irregularity has occurred that could lead to the decision being annulled, it can rectify the irregularity.

Where applicable, the competent authority can:

organise a new public review;
the opinion of the Environment Permit Committee stated in article 16, § 1 or the opinions stated in article 24, article 42 or article 59, either initially or for a second time.

Section 7.
Reporting on compliance with time limits for making decisions


Article 14.

The licensing authorities shall report annually to the Flemish Parliament through the Government of Flanders on compliance with the time limits for making decisions stated in this Decree.


Reporting by the municipalities and provinces shall be through the Government of Flanders according to the model and in the manner specified by it.


Reporting shall relate to permit applications submitted in the calendar year situated two years prior to the calendar year in which the reporting takes place.


Section 8.
Digitisation

Translation not available

Article 14/1.

The procedures referred to in this Decree and the procedures amended or introduced by this Decree in other decrees can take place digitally, either wholly or in part, in accordance with the rules established by the Government of Flanders.
 
The following applications, requests or official initiatives or notifications shall be submitted digitally:
applications, requests or official initiatives or notifications relating to:

Flemish projects;
provincial projects;
projects not exempt from the involvement of an architect;
the operation of a classified establishment or activity [...];
the parcelling of land;
the updating of an Environment Permit for the parcelling of land, if this update involves a change to the parcel boundaries.

 

By way of derogation from paragraph 2, these cases may be submitted in analogue or digital format if they may be submitted in French pursuant to the applicable language legislation.

If the competent authority establishes that certain parts of an application, request, notification or administrative appeal submitted in analogue format were generated digitally, it can ask the applicant, requester, notifier or appellant to submit these parts in digital format. These shall comply promptly with any such request.

The Government of Flanders can amend the list in subparagraph 2. It can also establish more specific rules if the digital system provided by Flanders is unavailable due to technical problems, and suspend or extend the time limits of the procedures referred to in this Decree for the duration of the technical problems.


CHAPTER 2.
The licensing procedure in the first administrative instance


Section 1.
General provisions


Subsection 1.
Authorities responsible for considering and taking decisions in relation to permit applications


Article 15.

§1.
The Government of Flanders or the regional environmental official is responsible in the first administrative instance for the following applications for [...]:

Flemish projects;
projects that only involve mobile or movable facilities or activities as stated in article 5.1.1, 10° of the DABM across two or more provinces.

  

The Government of Flanders shall determine in what cases the regional environmental official can make a decision regarding the permit application.

The deputation is responsible in the first administrative instance for its jurisdiction for the following applications for [...]:

provincial projects;
projects that only involve mobile or movable facilities or activities as stated in article 5.1.1, 10° of the DABM across two or more municipalities in their province;
projects involving facilities or activities classified in the first category that are neither a Flemish nor a municipal project or part of either.

 

The bench of Mayor and Aldermen is responsible in the first administrative instance for its jurisdiction for the following applications for [...]:

municipal projects;
cases other than those for which the Government of Flanders or the deputation is responsible.

 
§2.

A permit request for the change of a classified establishment or activity, with the exception of the splitting of a classified establishment or activity, is examined and a decision is taken by the authority that is competent in accordance with paragraph 1 for the project to which the classified establishment or activity belongs after change.

 

A permit request for the splitting of a classified establishment or activity is examined and a decision is taken by the authority that is competent in accordance with paragraph 1 for the project to which the classified establishment or activity belongs before the splitting.
 

By way of derogation from subparagraph 1, permit applications that only relate to the dismantling of a project or the restoration of the sites to their original condition and the operation of a classified facility or activity required for this shall be considered and decided upon by the authority responsible for the project in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 3, subparagraph 1.

 

§3.

For the application of paragraphs 1 and 2, a project is considered to be the whole that forms a construction-technical and functional whole and where, as the case may be, the operation forms a coherent technical whole.
 
A corporate residence together with the associated corporate buildings form one project.
 

§4.

The change of several stand-alone projects [...] can be requested as a joint project.

 

Permit applications as stated in subparagraph 1 shall be considered and decided upon by the authority responsible for the entirety of the project in accordance with paragraph 1.
 

§5.

However, the deputation is responsible for considering and deciding upon permit applications for a project or for a change to a project for which the bench of Mayor and Aldermen is responsible in accordance with paragraphs 1, 2 or 4 if the project or the project after the change is located on the territory of two or more municipalities.

 

§6.

However, the Government of Flanders is responsible for considering and deciding upon permit applications for a project or for a change to a project for which the bench of Mayor and Aldermen is responsible in accordance with paragraphs 1, 2, 4 or 5 if the project or the project after the change is located on the territory of two or more provinces.

 

§7.

Permit applications that relate to both the renewal of a limited-term permit for a project or part of a project and to changes thereto shall be submitted to the authority responsible in accordance with paragraphs 2 to 6 inclusive.


Article 15/1.

However, the deputation is authorised to examine and decide on a permit request for a project or for the change of a project, for which the Mayor and Aldermen are competent in accordance with Article 15, if the following two conditions are met:

an environmental impact statement must be drawn up for the project and no exemption from the reporting obligation has been obtained;
the council of burgomaster and aldermen is the initiator and applicant of the project.


However, the Government of Flanders is authorised to inspect and decide on a permit application for a project or for the change of a project, for which the deputation is competent in accordance with Article 15, if the following two conditions are met:

an environmental impact statement must be drawn up for the project and no exemption from the reporting obligation has been obtained;
the deputation is the initiator and applicant of the project.

Subsection 2.
Omgevingsvergunning Committee


Article 16.

§1.
In each province a provincial Environment Permit Committee shall be established that advises the board of Mayor and Aldermen and the deputation in the instances specified by the Government of Flanders.

A regional Environment Permit Committee shall be established that advises the Government of Flanders in the instances specified by the Government of Flanders.

§2.
The committees shall consist of a chairperson, a secretary, experts and representatives of the bodies responsible for giving their opinion. The bench of Mayor and Aldermen concerned or the municipal environmental official shall form part of the committees in an advisory capacity except if the application or appeal being considered emanates from the bench.

The deputation and the Government of Flanders shall appoint the chairperson, secretary and experts who sit on the provincial and regional Environment Permit Committees respectively.

The provincial and regional Environment Permit Committees shall each have a permanent secretariat.

§3.

The Government of Flanders shall establish more specific rules for the composition and operation of the provincial and regional Environment Permit Committees.


Subsection 3.
Types of licensing procedures


Article 17. Translation not available

Section 2.
Normal licensing procedure


Subsection 1.
Admissibility and completeness review


Article 18.

The permit application shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 15 by secured dispatch.

 

[...]

 

The Government of Flanders shall determine the content of the permit request.


Article 19. Translation not available

Article 20.

If, in application of Article 4.3.3, § 2, of the DABM, a project EIA screening note is enclosed with the permit request, the competent authority, stated in Article 15, will investigate whether the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer takes that note and decides whether an environmental impact statement must be drawn up on the project.
 
If the application is submitted by the competent authority itself, the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer will perform the tasks referred to in the first paragraph.
 


Article 21.

The result of the review stated in articles 19 and 20 shall be notified to the applicant by secured consignment within thirty days of the day after the date on which the permit application was submitted or following receipt of the missing information or documents.

The decision that an environmental impact assessment has to be conducted for the project shall ipso jure imply the incompleteness of the permit application and lead to the stoppage of the licensing procedure.

If the result of the review stated in article 20 has not been sent to the party that submitted the permit application within the time limit stated in subparagraph 1, the competent licensing authority shall, within ninety days of the day after the date on which the permit application was submitted or following receipt of the missing information or documents, expressly rule on whether an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted. If it decides that an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted, it shall declare the permit application incomplete and without object and stop the procedure.

An administrative appeal as stated in Chapter 3 cannot be lodged against a decision that an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted, the permit application is incomplete and without object and against the stoppage of the procedure.

If the competent authority stated in article 20 decides that an environmental impact assessment of the project must be conducted, the applicant can submit a reasoned request to have the reporting requirement lifted to the division responsible for environmental impact assessments in accordance with the procedure stated in article 4.3.3, § 3 to § 9 inclusive of the DABM. The decision of the division responsible for environmental impact assessments stated in article 4.3.3, § 6 of the same Decree shall be binding on the competent authority stated in article 20.

 


Article 22.

If the authority to which the permit application was submitted establishes that it is not responsible for the application, it shall send this application immediately to the competent authority stated in article 15. At the same time, the authority to which the permit application was submitted shall inform the applicant that the application has been forwarded. The competent authority stated in article 15 shall then process the permit application.


For the purposes of this Decree, the date on which the authority forwards the permit application to the competent authority shall count as the date on which the application was submitted.


Subsection 2.
Reviewing the project


Article 23.

A public review of the permit application shall be organised.

 

During the public review, any natural or legal person can submit their views, comments and objections.

 

If the permit application includes an environmental impact assessment or regional safety report on a project, the public review shall also address the contents of that report, unless this report has already been approved and is still current.

 

The Government of Flanders shall establish the more specific rules for the organisation of the public review. It can determine those permit applications for which the public review includes an information meeting as well as the more specific rules for the organisation of that information meeting.

 


Article 24.

The Government of Flanders shall appoint the advisory bodies that deliver opinions on permit applications.

 

The opinion of the bench of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official on the jurisdiction to which the permit application relates shall always be obtained if the deputation or the Government of Flanders is the competent authority, unless:

the application was submitted by the bench concerned;
the application only relates to mobile or movable classified facilities or activities.

 

 


Article 25.

In cases specified by the Government of Flanders, the competent authority, stated in Article 15, asks the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer or the person authorised by him, the opinion of the provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee, stated in Article 16, § 1. The provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee shall ask the advisory bodies stated in article 24, subparagraph 1 and, where applicable, the bench of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 24, subparagraph 2 for their opinion.

 

If no opinion is required from an Environment Permit Committee stated in article 16, §1, the competent authority stated in article 15 asks the municipal, provincial or regional environmental official or the person authorised by him to consult the advisory bodies and, where applicable, the board of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 24 for their opinion.
 
If, in application of subparagraph 1, the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee as stated in article 16, § 1 is required, the advisory bodies and, where applicable, the bench of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 24 shall deliver their opinion to the Environment Permit Committee. This committee shall deliver an integrated opinion
 


Article 26.

The Government of Flanders shall establish the time limits for delivering opinions and can determine the elements to which such opinions must relate.

 

If no opinion is delivered within the established time limit, the opinion shall be deemed to be favourable.


Article 27.

The permit applicant can ask to be heard by the provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee.


Article 27/1.

If the project involves retail activities requiring a permit with a net commercial area of more than 20,000 square meters, located at a distance of less than 20 kilometres from another region or from various other regions, and the mayor and aldermen or deputation is the competent authority, the municipal or provincial environmental officer informs the Government of Flanders  of this with a secured dispatch, with a view to the fulfilment of the obligations included in Article 6, § 5bis, of the special law of 8 August 1980 on the reform of the institutions.


Article 28.

Unless the environmental impact assessment or the regional safety report has already been approved and is still current, the division responsible for environmental impact assessments and safety reports shall publish its decision on whether to approve or reject this assessment in application of article 4.3.8, § 3 and article 4.5.7, § 3 of the DABM.

 

If the division responsible for environmental impact assessments and safety reports rejects the environmental impact assessment or the regional safety report, the licensing procedure shall ipso jure be stopped.

 


Article 29.

§1.
If the council of mayor and aldermen is the competent authority, and no advice from an Environment Permit committee is required, the municipal environmental officer prepares a report for every decision on a permit application, which is part of the permit file. Where appropriate, the report assesses the application against the grounds for assessment determined by or pursuant to:

title IV of the VCRO;
title V of the DABM;
he decree of 15 July concerning the integral trade establishment policy.
the decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment; 


Where appropriate, the report shall include a proposed response to the positions, comments and objections submitted during any public inquiry.
 
The municipal environmental officer makes this report available to the board of the Mayor and Aldermen at the latest ten days before the expiry of the confirmed or, where appropriate, extended decision period. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will indicate in their reasoning for the decision how the report will be taken into account. If no report is made within the confirmed or, where appropriate, extended period, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen may disregard the requirement for a report.
 
§2.
Paragraph 1 applies mutatis mutandis to the deputation and the provincial environmental officer.


Article 30.

After the public inquiry referred to in Article 23, the competent authority referred to in Article 15 may, at the request of the license applicant, allow changes to be made to the permit request. 
 
The request of the permit applicant enables the competent authority to assess whether the changes do any harm to the protection of humans or the environment or good spatial planning.

If the competent authority allows changes to be made to the permit application, a public inquiry into the modified permit application will be organised if one of the following conditions is met:

the changes do not concur with the advice or the positions, comments and objections submitted during the public inquiry;
the changes apparently violate the rights of third parties.

 
If a public inquiry is organised regarding the amended permit application, the competent authority will, where appropriate, obtain the advice of the competent Environment Permit Committee, as stated in Article 16, § 1, or the opinions as stated in Article 24, as yet or a second time.
 


Article 31.

§1.
If the application involves the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, where appropriate at the request of the competent authority, referred to in Article 15, will convene the municipal council to decide on the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of the municipal road.
 
The municipal council decides on the location, width and equipment of the municipal road, and on possible inclusion in the public domain. In doing so, the objectives and principles stated in Articles 3 and 4 of the Decree of 3 May 2019 on municipal roads are taken into account, and, where appropriate, with the municipal policy framework and assessment framework, stated in Article 6 of the Decree of 3 May 2019 regarding the municipal roads. In this regard, the municipal council may impose conditions and attach charges, which the competent authority will include in the eventual permit.
 
§2.
If the Board of Mayor and Aldermen is not the competent authority that decides on the application in first instance, the municipality will send the decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of the municipal road within sixty days after the request to the competent authority, stated in Article 15.
 


Subsection 2/1.
Appeal against the decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road


Article 31/1.

§1.
An organised administrative appeal can be lodged with the Government of Flanders against the decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road in the context of a suspensive administrative appeal against the permit decision by the persons or authorities referred to in Article 53. The requirement stated in article 53, second paragraph, also applies to the appeal against the decision of the municipal council.
 
The appeal will result in the annulment of the contested decision or in the dismissal of the appeal on the grounds that it is inadmissible or unfounded.
 
§2.
Under penalty of inadmissibility, the appeal is submitted with a secured dispatch to the Government of Flanders within a period of thirty days, which starts on:

the day after the date on which the contested decision is served for those persons or bodies on whom/which the decision is served;
the day after the end of the period for making a decision if the Environment Permit is tacitly refused in the first administrative instance;
the day after the first day of promulgation of the contested decision in all other cases.

 
Under penalty of inadmissibility, the person submitting the appeal simultaneously with the secure dispatch of the appeal to the Government of Flanders, submits a copy of the letter of appeal with a secure dispatch to the Board of the Mayor and Aldermen and to the competent appeal body referred to in Article 52.
 
§3.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen shall immediately upon receipt of the copy of the appeal, submit the complete file or a copy thereof to the Department of Mobility and Public Works.
 
§4.
The Government of Flanders will take a decision on the appeal within a period of ninety days, starting on the day after receipt of the file stated in paragraph 3. That term is a term of order.
 
The Government of Flanders immediately informs the person submitting the appeal, the competent authority and the municipality of its decision.

 

§ 5.

The decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road can only be quashed:

due to conflict with the decree of 3 May 2019 on municipal roads
due to conflict with the objectives and principles stated in Articles 3 and 4 of the Decree of 3 May 2019 on municipal roads, and, where appropriate, the municipal policy framework and assessment framework, stated in Article 6 of the same decree;
due to non-compliance with a substantial form requirement.

Subsection 3.
Decision on a permit application


Article 32.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 15 shall take a decision on a permit request within a period of:

one hundred and five days if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is not required;
one hundred and twenty days if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is required.

  
§2.
The time limits stated in paragraph 1 shall be extended ipso jure by sixty days in the following cases:

if a public review is organised in application of article 30, subparagraph 3;
if use is made of the administrative loop stated in article 13;
if the permit application includes the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road over which the municipal council has decision-making power.

 

Notice of the period extension shall be sent to the applicant before the end date of the normal time limit for making a decision.


§3. The time limits stated in paragraph 1 shall always begin on the day after the date on which the permit request is declared admissible and complete or, in the absence of a decision in that regard, the thirtieth day after the date on which the application was submitted or after receipt of the missing data or documents.

§4.
If no decision is taken within the specified or, where applicable, the extended time limit, the Environment Permit shall be deemed to have been refused.

 

By way of derogation from subparagraph 1, the time limits stated in paragraph 1 shall be regarded as indicative time limits if the permit application is the result of a change or extension to the classification list as a consequence of which an environmental impact assessment or a regional safety report must be conducted or an appropriate assessment must be carried out. Where applicable, operation may be continued until a definitive decision is taken regarding the permit application.

 

§5.
The competent authority can make a decision on a permit request as stated in articles 5.4.1 and 5.4.2 of the Immovable Heritage Decree of 12 July 2013, whereby an archaeology memorandum submitted for ratification was added to the application, but makes a decision once the validated archaeology memorandum has been delivered. If no validated archaeology memorandum has been submitted before the expiry of the term stated in paragraphs 1 to 3, the Environment Permit must be refused.
 
§6.
A permit for applications with the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road can only be granted after approval of the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of the municipal road by the municipal council in accordance with Article 31.
 
If the municipal council has not approved the construction, change, relocation or cancellation, the Environment Permit will be refused.
 
§7.
If the competent authority, stated in Article 15, is unable to take a decision within the set or, where appropriate, extended period because the municipal council has not taken a decision on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of the municipal road, the municipality shall owe the applicant a non-recurring compensation of 5,000 Eeuros.
 
Within ninety days after the expiry of the period stated in the first paragraph, the licence applicant requests payment of the one-off fee from the municipality with a secured dispatch. In this regard he shall refer to the case and to his IBAN and BIC data. The municipality pays the one-off fee to the applicant without further formalities.
 
If the licence applicant does not request payment of the one-off fee within the period of ninety days stated in the second paragraph, the applicant is deemed to have waived his right to the one-off fee.
 


Article 33.

The decision stated in article 32 shall indicate the charges and conditions, including the special environmental conditions, which apply to the project. For general and sectoral environmental conditions, a reference to the rules in question shall suffice.

 

If the Environment Permit is granted for a limited term, the decision shall state the duration of the permit and the reason for this.

 

If an Environment Permit relates to a change in the operation of a classified facility or activity of a project, the decision shall show the updated permit situation in relation to the operation of the classified facilities or activities. Special environmental conditions that cease to be of effect as a result of their temporary nature, a changed operation or any statutory or regulatory provision shall not be stated in the updated permit situation. The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules in this regard.

 


Article 34.

Without prejudice to article 5.2.1, § 3 and § 4 of the DABM, the acknowledgement of the notification in the decision shall be deemed to be without object if, under or by virtue of the decrees stated in article 5, a project is subject to both the notification and licensing requirements and the Environment Permit is expressly or tacitly refused.


Article 35.

An Environment Permit may be used if the applicant is not notified of the lodging of a suspensive administrative appeal as stated in article 52 within thirty-five days of the first day of promulgation.

The applicant may make immediate use of the Environment Permit:

in the cases mentioned in article 55, subparagraph 2;
if the Government of Flanders or the regional environmental official has granted the Environment Permit.

 

 


Article 36.

The Government of Flanders shall establish more specific rules for the normal licensing procedure, including publication of the decision.


Section 3.
Simplified licensing procedure


Subsection 1.
Admissibility and completeness review


Article 37.

The permit application shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 15 by secured dispatch.

 

[...]

 

The Government of Flanders shall determine the content of the permit request.


Article 38.

The competent authority, stated in Article 15, or the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer examines the permit request for its admissibility and completeness.

 

If the permit application is incomplete, the competent authority, the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer or the person authorised by him can ask the permit applicant to add the missing data or documents to the application by secure dispatch and specify the term within which this must be done.
 


Article 39.

If, in application of Article 4.3.3, § 2, of the DABM, a project EIA screening note is enclosed with the permit request, the competent authority, stated in Article 15, will investigate whether the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer takes that note and decides whether an environmental impact statement must be drawn up on the project.
 
If the application is submitted by the competent authority itself, the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer will perform the tasks referred to in the first paragraph.
 


Article 40.

The result of the review stated in articles 38 and 39 shall be notified to the applicant by secured consignment within thirty days of the day after the date on which the permit application was submitted or following receipt of the missing information or documents.

 

The decision that an environmental impact assessment has to be conducted for the project shall ipso jure imply the incompleteness of the permit application and lead to the stoppage of the licensing procedure.

 
If the result of the review stated in article 39 has not been sent to the party that submitted the permit application within the time limit stated in subparagraph 1, the competent licensing authority shall, within ninety days of the day after the date on which the permit application was submitted or following receipt of the missing information or documents, expressly rule on whether an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted. If it decides that an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted, it shall declare the permit application incomplete and without object and stop the procedure.

 

An administrative appeal as stated in Chapter 3 cannot be lodged against a decision that an environmental impact assessment needs to be conducted, the permit application is incomplete and without object and against the stoppage of the procedure.

 

If the competent authority stated in article 15 or the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer decides that an environmental impact assessment of the project must be conducted, the applicant can submit a reasoned request to have the reporting requirement lifted to the division responsible for environmental impact assessments in accordance with the procedure stated in article 4.3.3, § 3 to § 9 inclusive of the DABM. The decision of the division competent for environmental impact assessment, stated in Article 4.3.3, § 6, of the same decree, is binding on the competent authority, stated in Article 15, or the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer.


Article 41.

If the authority to which the permit application was submitted establishes that it is not responsible for the application, it shall send this application immediately to the competent authority stated in article 15. At the same time, the authority to which the permit application was submitted shall inform the applicant that the application has been forwarded. The competent authority stated in article 15 shall then process the permit application.

For the purposes of this Decree, the date on which the authority forwards the permit application to the competent authority shall count as the date on which the application was submitted.

 


Subsection 2.
Reviewing the project


Article 42.

The Government of Flanders shall appoint the advisory bodies that deliver opinions on permit applications.

 

The opinion of the bench of Mayor and Aldermen on the jurisdiction to which the permit application relates or of the municipal environmental official shall always be obtained if the deputation or the Government of Flanders is the competent authority, unless the application was submitted by the bench concerned.

 

The competent authority referred to in Article 15, the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officerl, shall ask the authorities referred to in the first paragraph for advice.


Article 43.

The Government of Flanders shall establish the time limits for delivering opinions and can determine the elements to which such opinions must relate.

 

If no opinion is delivered within the established time limit, the opinion shall be deemed to be favourable.

 


Article 43/1.

If the project involves retail activities requiring a permit with a net commercial area of more than 20,000 square metres, located at a distance of less than 20 kilometres from another region or from various other regions, and the mayor and aldermen or deputation is the competent authority, the municipal or provincial environmental officer informs the Government of Flanders  of this with a secured dispatch, with a view to the fulfilment of the obligations included in Article 6, § 5bis, of the special law of 8 August 1980 on the reform of the institutions. 


Article 44.

§1.
If the council of mayor and aldermen is the competent authority, the municipal environmental officer prepares a report for each decision about a permit application, which is part of the permit file. Where appropriate, the report assesses the application against the grounds for assessment determined by or pursuant to:

titel IV van de VCRO;
titel V van het DABM;
the decree of 15 July 2016 regarding the integral commercial establishment policy;
the decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment.

 

The municipal environmental officer makes this report available to the board of the Mayor and Aldermen at the latest ten days before the expiry of the confirmed or, where appropriate, extended decision period. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will indicate in their reasoning for the decision how the report will be taken into account. If no report is made within the set deadline, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen may disregard the requirement for a report.
 
§2.
Paragraph 1 applies mutatis mutandis to the deputation and the provincial environmental officer.


Translation not available

Subsection 3.
Decision on a permit application


Article 46.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 15 shall take a decision on a permit request within a period of sixty days.

 

The period always starts on the day after the date on which the permit application is declared admissible and complete or, in the absence of a decision on this, the thirtieth day after the date on which the application was submitted or after receipt of the missing data or documents.
 
§2.
If no decision is taken within the specified time limit, the Environment Permit shall be deemed to have been refused.
 
§3.
The competent authority can make a decision on a permit request as stated in articles 5.4.1 and 5.4.2 of the Immovable Heritage Decree of 12 July 2013, whereby a reported archaeology memorandum was added to the request, but make a decision if the archaeological memorandum duly noted has been provided. If no duly noted archaeological memorandum has been submitted before the expiry of the term stated in paragraph 1, the Environment Permit must be refused.
 


Article 47.

The decision stated in article 46 shall indicate the charges and conditions, including the special environmental conditions, which apply to the project. For general and sectoral environmental conditions, a reference to the rules in question shall suffice.

 

If the Environment Permit is granted for a limited term, the decision shall state the duration of the permit and the reason for this.

 

If an Environment Permit relates to a change in the operation of a classified facility or activity of a project, the decision shall show the updated permit situation in relation to the operation of the classified facilities or activities. Special environmental conditions that cease to be of effect as a result of their temporary nature, a changed operation or any statutory or regulatory provision shall not be stated in the updated permit situation. The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules in this regard.
 

 


Article 48.

Without prejudice to article 5.2.1, § 3 and § 4 of the DABM, the acknowledgement of the notification in the decision shall be deemed to be without object if, under or by virtue of the decrees stated in article 5, a project is subject to both the notification and licensing requirements and the Environment Permit is expressly or tacitly refused.


Article 49.

An Environment Permit may be used if the applicant is not notified of the lodging of a suspensive administrative appeal as stated in article 52 within thirty-five days of the first day of promulgation.

 

The applicant may make immediate use of the Environment Permit:

in the cases mentioned in article 55, subparagraph 2;
if the Government of Flanders or the regional environmental official has granted the Environment Permit.

 

 


Article 50.

The Government of Flanders shall establish more specific rules for the simplified licensing procedure, including publication of the decision.


Subsection 4.
Expanding or amending the classification list


Article 51.

The operator of a classified facility or activity that has become subject to a permit through the expansion or amendment of the classification list shall notify the competent authority stated in article 15 of the existence of the operation within six months of the date after the date on which this expansion or amendment takes effect.

 

The 60-day period stated in article 46 shall be regarded as an indicative time limit for the projects stated in subparagraph 1.

 

Where applicable, operation may be continued until a definitive decision has been taken regarding the granting of the Environment Permit.

 


CHAPTER 3.
The licensing procedure in the last administrative instance


Section 1.
General provisions


Article 52.

The Government of Flanders or the regional environmental officer is competent in final administrative instance for appeals against express or tacit decisions of the deputation in first administrative instance.

 

The Government of Flanders shall determine in what cases the regional environmental official can make a decision regarding the appeal.

 

For its jurisdiction, the deputation is competent in the last administrative instance for appeals against express or tacit decisions of the bench of Mayor and Aldermen in the first administrative instance.


Article 53.

The appeal can be lodged by:

the permit applicant, the permit holder or the operator;
the public concerned;
the senior official of the advisory bodies or, in his absence, his authorised representative if the advisory body has given a timely opinion or if it was incorrectly not asked for an opinion;
the bench of Mayor and Aldermen if it has given a timely opinion or if it was incorrectly not asked for an opinion;
[...]
the senior official of the Environment Department or, in his absence, his authorised representative;
the senior official of the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or, in his absence, his authorised representative, if the project involves retail activities requiring a permit.
the senior official of the agency, responsible for nature and forest, or, in his absence, his authorised representative if the project involves changes to the vegetation requiring a permit.

 

[... annulled by judgment of the Constitutional Court 46/2019 of 14 March 2019].


Article 54.

To be admissible, the appeal shall be lodged within a period of thirty days beginning:

the day after the date on which the contested decision is served for those persons or bodies on whom/which the decision is served;
the day after the end of the period for making a decision if the Environment Permit is tacitly refused in the first administrative instance;
the day after the first day of promulgation of the contested decision in all other cases.

 


Article 55.

The appeal shall suspend the execution of the contested decision until the day after the service date of the decision in the last administrative instance.

By way of derogation from subparagraph 1, the appeal shall not have a suspensive effect with respect to:

the permit for the further operation of a classified facility or activity for which a permit application was submitted at least twelve months before the end date of the Environment Permit;
the permit for operation after a trial period as stated in article 69;
the permit for the operation of a classified facility or activity that has become subject to a permit through the expansion or amendment of the classification list.

 

 


Section 2.
Appeal procedure


Subsection 1.
Admissibility and completeness review


Article 56.

To be admissible, the appeal shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 52 by secured consignment.

 

If, in application of Article 31/1, an organised administrative appeal has been lodged with the Government of Flanders against the decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road, the appeal shall contain a copy of the notice of appeal to the Government of Flanders under penalty of inadmissibility. 

 

To be admissible, the party lodging the appeal shall send a copy of the notice of appeal simultaneously and by secured consignment to:

the permit applicant, except where he himself is lodging the appeal;
the deputation if this took the decision in the first administrative instance;
the bench of Mayor and Aldermen, except where it itself is lodging the appeal.

  

The Government of Flanders lays down, possibly including an inadmissibility sanction, furhter rules with regard to the structure and content of the notice of appeal and the supporting documents that must be enclosed with the appeal in order for it to be loged in an admissible manner.


Article 57.

The competent authority stated in article 52 or the provincial and/or regional environment official shall review the admissibility and completeness of the appeal.

 

If all the documents stated in article 56, subparagraph 3 are not attached to the appeal, the competent authority or the provincial or regional environment official appointed by it can ask the party lodging the appeal by secured dispatch to add the missing information or documents to the appeal within a period of fourteen days beginning the day after the request for completion is sent.

 

If the party lodging the appeal fails to add the missing information or documents to the appeal within the time limit stated in subparagraph 2, the appeal shall be regarded as incomplete.


Article 57/1.

Appeals for Environment Permits that only include retail activities and that are based solely on economic criteria in relation to economic objectives are inadmissible.


Article 58.

The result of the review stated in article 57 shall be notified to the party lodging the appeal by secured consignment within a period of thirty days beginning the day after the date on which the notice of appeal was sent.

Incompleteness or inadmissibility shall ipso jure lead to the stoppage of the appeal procedure.

The decision shall be notified to:

the appellant;
the permit applicant;
the deputation if this took the decision in the first administrative instance;
the bench of Mayor and Aldermen.

 

 


Subsection 2.
Reviewing the project


Article 59.

The Government of Flanders shall appoint the advisory bodies that deliver opinions on permit applications.

The opinion of the bench of Mayor and Aldermen on the jurisdiction to which the permit application relates or of the municipal environmental official shall always be obtained, unless the appeal was lodged by the bench concerned.

 


Article 60.

In cases specified by the Government of Flanders, the competent authority, stated in Article 52, asks the municipal, provincial or regional environmental officer or the person authorised by him, for the opinion of the provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee, stated in Article 16, § 1. The provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee shall ask the advisory bodies stated in article 59, subparagraph 1 and, where applicable, the bench of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 59, subparagraph 2 for their opinion.

 

If the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee stated in article 16, § 1 is not required, the competent authority stated in article 52, the provincial or regional environmental officer or the official appointed by him shall ask the advisory bodies stated in article 59, subparagraph 1 and, where applicable, the board of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 59, subparagraph 2 for their opinion.

 

If, in application of subparagraph 1, the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee as stated in article 16, § 1 is required, the advisory bodies stated in article 59, subparagraph 1 and, where applicable, the bench of Mayor and Aldermen or the municipal environmental official stated in article 59, subparagraph 2 shall deliver their opinion to the Environment Permit Committee. The aforesaid committee shall deliver an integrated opinion.


Article 61.

The Government of Flanders shall establish the time limits for delivering opinions and can determine the elements to which such opinions must relate.

If no opinion is delivered within the established time limit, the opinion shall be deemed to be favourable.

 


Article 62.

The permit applicant as well as any party lodging an appeal can ask in the second administrative instance to be heard by:

the provincial or regional Environment Permit Committee if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is required;
the competent authority, or the provincial or regional environmental officer if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is not required.

 

The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules in relation to the organisation of and representation at the hearing.


Article 63.

The competent authority stated in article 52 shall review the permit application in its entirety.


Article 63/1.

If the deputation is the competent authority and no opinion from an Environment Permit Committee is required, the provincial environmental officer will prepare a report for each decision on an appeal, which is part of the permit dossier. Where appropriate, the report assesses the request against the grounds for assessment determined by or pursuant to:

title IV of the VCRO; 
title V of the DABM; 
the decree of 15 July 2016 regarding the integral commercial establishment policy; 
the decree of 21 October 1997 on nature conservation and the natural environment.

The report shall include, where appropriate, a proposed response to the views, comments and objections submitted during any public inquiry. 

 

The provincial environmental officer will make this report available to the deputation no later than ten days before the expiry of the established or, where appropriate, extended decision period. In its reasoning for the decision, the deputation will indicate how the report will be taken into account. If no report is made within the established or, where appropriate, extended period, the deputation may disregard the requirement for a report.


Article 64.

Changes can be made to the permit application during the appeal procedure.

The public review of the amended permit application is not required if the following conditions are met:

the changes do not affect the protection of people or the environment or proper spatial planning;
the changes satisfy the opinions or views, comments and objections submitted during the public review;
the changes do not involve any apparent infringement of third-party rights.

  

If the conditions stated in subparagraph 2 are not met, the competent authority stated in article 52 can decide to organise a public review of the amended permit application. Where applicable, it shall obtain the opinion of the Environment Permit Committee stated in article 16, § 1 or the opinions stated in article 59, either initially or for a second time.

If the conditions stated in subparagraph 2 are not met and the competent authority has not organised a public review of the amended permit application, this authority shall not take the changes to the permit application into account in its decision.

 


Article 65.

If the application involves the construction, modification, relocation or closure of a municipal road and the competent authority establishes that the municipal council has not taken a decision on this, the governor, at the request of the deputation, the Government of Flanders or the regional environmental officer, will call the municipal council together to decide on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of the municipal road.
 
The municipal council decides on the location, width and equipment of the municipal road, and on possible inclusion in the public domain. In this regard, the municipal council may impose conditions and attach charges, which the competent authority will include in the eventual permit. The legal protection with regard to those conditions and charges is the same as that with regard to the permit.
 
The municipality submits the decision of the municipal council on the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of the municipal road to the competent authority within sixty days after the convocation by the governor.
 


Subsection 3.
Decision on the appeal


Article 66.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 52 shall take a definitive decision on the permit request within a period of:

one hundred and twenty days if the request was processed in the first administrative instance in accordance with the normal licensing procedure;
sixty days if the request was processed in the first administrative instance in accordance with the simplified licensing procedure.


§2.
Without prejudice to paragraph 2/1, the time limit for making a decision shall be extended ipso jure by sixty days in the following cases:

if a public review is organised in application of article 64, subparagraph 3;
if use is made of the administrative loop stated in article 13;
if the permit request includes the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of a municipal road over which the municipal council has decision-making power and the municipal council is convened in the course of the appeal procedure in accordance with Article 65.

 

Notice of the period extension shall be sent to the applicant and the party lodging the appeal before the end date of the time limit for making a decision.

§2/1.
Without prejudice to paragraph 2, the time limit for making a decision shall be extended once by sixty days upon reasoned request by the permit applicant.

 

Notice of the period extension shall be sent to the applicant and the party lodging the appeal before the end date of the time limit for making a decision.

 

§2/2.
Without prejudice to the application of paragraph 2 or paragraph 2/1, the decision period is suspended ipso jure as long as the Government of Flanders has not taken a decision on the organised administrative appeal against the decision of the municipal council referred to in article 31/1.

 

§3.
The time periods stated in paragraph 1 shall always begin on the day after the date on which the last appeal is declared admissible and complete or, in the absence of a decision in that regard, the thirtieth day after the date on which the last appeal was submitted or after receipt of the missing data or documents, whereby the most recent date applies.

 

If no decision is made within the specified or, where appropriate, the extended time limit, the appeal(s) shall be deemed to have been dismissed and the contested decision shall be regarded as definitive.

§4.

Articles 33, 34, 47 and 38 apply mutatis mutandis to the decision.

 

§5.
The competent authority can make a decision on a permit request as stated in articles 5.4.1 and 5.4.2 of the Immovable Heritage Decree of 12 July 2013, whereby an archaeology memorandum submitted for ratification was added to the application, but make a decision once the validated archaeology memorandum has been delivered. If no validated archaeology memorandum has been submitted before the expiry of the term stated in paragraphs 1 to 3, the Environment Permit must be refused.
 
§6.
A permit for requests involving the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of a municipal road can only be granted on appeal after the municipal council has approved the construction, modification, relocation or cancellation of the municipal road, in application of Article 31.
 
If the municipal council has not approved the construction, amendment, relocation or cancellation, or if the Government of Flanders has annulled the decision in accordance with Article 31/1, the Environment Permit will be refused on appeal.
 
§7.
If the competent authority, stated in Article 52, is unable to take a decision within the set or, where appropriate, extended period because the municipal council has not taken a decision on the construction, modification, relocation or closure of the municipal road, the municipality shall owe the applicant a non-recurring compensation of 5,000 euros.
 
Within ninety days after the expiry of the period stated in the first paragraph, the licence applicant requests payment of the one-off fee from the municipality with a secured dispatch. He refers to the dossier in his request and states his IBAN and BIC details. The municipality pays the one-off fee to the applicant without further formalities.
 
If the licence applicant does not request payment of the one-off fee within the period of ninety days stated in the second paragraph, the applicant is deemed to have waived his right to the one-off fee.
 

 


Article 67.

The Government of Flanders shall establish the more specific rules for the procedure in the last administrative instance.


CHAPTER 4.
Duration of the Environment Permit


Section 1.
General provisions


Article 68.

The Environment Permit is valid for an indefinite period.
 
By way of derogation from subparagraph 1, the competent authority can grant an Environment Permit for a limited term, wholly or in part, in the following cases:

at the request of the permit applicant;
for projects that only involve temporary facilities or activities as stated in article 5.2.1, § 2, subparagraph 2 of the DABM;
if the operation relates to groundwater extraction or mining;
if a trial Environment Permit is required;
with a view to relocating the operation of the classified facility or activity that is incompatible with the spatial purpose;
if, in application of article 4.4.4 or 4.4.23 of the VCRO, an Environment Permit for a limited term is deemed possible for a project that infringes an urban development requirement;
to be able to take account of:
  a) the locatable area-specific development perspectives included in a spatial structure plan or spatial policy plan made definitive before the application for an Environment Permit is submitted;
  b) the urban development requirements of a regional spatial plan;
for constructions that, due to their nature, are temporary in character;
for changes to the operation of a classified facility or activity for which the initial limited-term Environment Permit was granted.
10° for projects involving retail activities and licensed for no more than 12 months in an existing, licensed or predominantly licensed building or in temporary licensed or licence-exempt structures.

 

The limited-term permit that is granted on the basis of subparagraph 2, 7°, a) shall be regarded as having been granted for an indefinite period if, at the end of the duration of the permit, the area-specific development perspectives are not enshrined in a regional spatial plan made definitive.

 

For the purpose of subparagraph 2, the Government of Flanders can establish the minimum and maximum period of validity of the Environment Permit.


Section 2.
Special provisions for limited-term Environment Permits


Subsection 1.
Trial Environment Permit


Article 69.

§1.

For the operation of a classified facility or activity of a project for which no urban development action necessitating a permit is required, the competent authority can grant a trial Environment Permit for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years to determine whether, after the trial period, the operation is still acceptable for people and the environment.

§2.
The licensing authority shall make a decision on the further operation of the classified facility or activity before the end of the trial period.

 

If the competent authority stated in article 15 does not make a decision before the end of the trial period, the Environment Permit shall be deemed to have been refused.

 

If the competent authority stated in article 52 does not make a decision before the end of the trial period of a trial Environment Permit granted by it, the contested decision from the first administrative instance shall be regarded as definitive.

§3. The Government of Flanders shall establish the procedure for the ruling after the trial period.

 


Subsection 2.
Renewal of the limited-term Environment Permit


Article 70.

§1.
The renewal of an Environment Permit or part thereof that was granted for a limited term can be applied for at the earliest 24 months before the end date of the Environment Permit.

 

If the permit request is submitted at least twelve months before the end date of a fixed-term Environment Permit, the urban development action may be maintained or the classified facility or activity may continue to be operated after the end date while awaiting a definitive decision on the application.
The operation takes place in compliance with the general and sectoral environmental conditions and the special environmental conditions from the permit that were applicable until then.


§2.
By way of derogation from paragraph 1, an Environment Permit for further operation can be applied for earlier than 24 months before the end date of the Environment Permit if:

a takeover of the licensed classified facility or activity by another operator is planned;
the operator intends making a significant change to the licensed classified facility. In that case, the permit application relates to both those parts of the facility or activity that remain in operation and to the planned change.


§3. For a temporary facility or activity as stated in article 5.1.1, 11° of the DABM, the competent authority can extend the Environment Permit just once for up to the same duration as that of the initial Environment Permit.

§4. The Government of Flanders shall lay down more specific rules for the renewal of the fixed-term Environment Permit.


CHAPTER 5.
Characteristics of the Environment Permit


Section 1.
Conditions and charges associated with the Environment Permit


Subsection 1.
Conditions


Article 71.

Without prejudice to the application of the automatic condition within the meaning of article 90bis of the Forest Decree of 13 June 1990, the competent authority can attach conditions to the execution of an urban development action or the parcelling of land.

 

The competent authority will fully include the conditions imposed by the municipal council when deciding on the construction, modification, relocation or discontinuation of the municipal road, stated in Article 31, in the permit.


Article 72.

Without prejudice to the application of the general and sectoral environmental conditions, obligations and the application rules thereof, determined under or by virtue of the DABM, the competent authority can make the operation of the classified facility or activity dependent on compliance with special environmental conditions.


Article 73.

§1.
The special environmental conditions stated in article 72 contain the additional measures required to protect people and the environment against unacceptable risks and nuisance caused by the operation.
 
The special environmental conditions can consist, inter alia, of an obligation:

to carry out a study or provide monitoring for the purpose of checking the application of the special environmental conditions;
to conclude, at the expense of the operator, a remediation contract as stated in article 32septies, § 4 and § 5 of the Law of 26 March 1971 on protecting surface waters against pollution. The conclusion of the remediation contract can be accomplished by the operator, namely by initiating the procedure himself. The Government of Flanders shall establish more specific rules for this.

 
§2.
If best available techniques are available, they shall form the reference for establishing the special environmental conditions.

By way of derogation from subparagraph 1, the competent authority can establish stricter special environmental conditions than those that can be achieved by using the best available techniques according to the criteria determined by the Government of Flanders. The Government of Flanders shall determine the way in which the best available techniques are established.

 


Article 73/1.

The competent authority may attach conditions to the performance of retail trade activities.


Article 73/2.

The competent authority may attach conditions to the implementation of the modification of its vegetation.


Article 74.

All conditions shall be sufficiently precise and reasonable in proportion to the licensed project.

 

They can be realised by the applicant, client, user or operator.

 


Subsection 2.
Charges


Article 75. Translation not available

Article 76.

The charges shall be reasonable in proportion to the licensed project. They can be realised by the applicant.

The competent authority can prescribe a phased execution of the charges.

 


Article 77.

If a charge as stated in article 75 has not been executed within the designated time limit and is not, or is inadequately, covered by a financial guarantee, the creditor of the charge can serve the debtor of the charge by secured consignment with an administrative enforcement decision. The decision shall specify that the administrative enforcement shall be applied at the expense of the debtor of the charge. The decision shall stipulate a time limit within which the debtor of the charge can avoid enforcement by executing the charge. If the charges are not executed in time, the creditor of the charge can officially provide for execution of the charges. The debtor of the charge is required to reimburse all execution costs, on presentation of a statement drawn up by the creditor of the charge.


Section 2.
?In rem? nature


Article 78.

§1.
The Environment Permit is of an “in rem” nature. It shall be granted subject to the civil rights that relate to the property.

 

Decisions taken under this Decree shall not violate third-party civil rights.

§2.
By way of derogation from paragraph 1, an Environment Permit for the parcelling of land shall waive easements established by people and obligations established by agreement relating to the use of the land insofar as they are incompatible with the Environment Permit and are expressly stated in the permit application.

 

The issue of the Environment Permit shall in no way prevent the beneficiaries of the easements or obligations from possibly exercising a right to compensation against the applicant.

 


Article 79.

An Environment Permit that does not relate to the operation of a classified facility or activity that requires a permit can be transferred without any special formalities.

 

If the Environment Permit relates to an operation requiring a permit for a classified establishment or activity, the transfer must be reported in advance to the authority responsible for the project for the transfer. The Government of Flanders shall determine the content of the transfer form, the time limit within which and the way in which the transfer must be notified.

 

As a result of the notification stated in subparagraph 2, the licensing decision shall be adapted by the competent authority [...] in accordance with the rules established by the Government of Flanders.

 

[...]

 

If charges are attached to an Environment Permit, the transferor shall remain obligated vis-à-vis the competent authority, unless the latter has agreed to the substitution of its debtor.


Section 3.
Phasing


Article 80.

An Environment Permit can state the different phases or components of a project and can also establish the various reference times.


Section 4.
Regularisation permits


Article 81.

§1.
A regularisation permit is an Environment Permit issued during or after the execution of projects subject to a permit as stated in article 5, 1°.

 

Current rules, including urban development requirements, any parcelling requirements and general and sectoral environmental requirements, shall be used as a basis for assessing the application.

§2.

An application for regularisation shall include a copy of any official reports, administrative decisions and judicial decisions relating to the project that are brought to the attention of the applicant.

§3.
A failure to prosecute an infringement by the authority shall not per se warrant regularisation.
 
The sanctioning of an infringement shall not preclude regularisation.

§4.
The regularisation permit shall be issued with due regard for the customary assessment criteria and in accordance with the normal licensing procedure.

 

The conditions and charges stated in articles 71 to 77 inclusive can be attached to the permit.

 


CHAPTER 6.
Updating the Environment Permit


Section 1.
Updating the conditions imposed in the Environment Permit

Translation not available

Article 82.

The competent authority stated in article 15 can amend or supplement the environmental conditions imposed in the Environment Permit:

officially through a reasoned initiative;
upon reasoned request by:
  a) the competent division of the municipality, the provincial Environment Permit Committee or the regional Environment Permit Committee as a result of an evaluation carried out as stated in article 5.4.11 of the DABM;
  b) [...]
  c) the public concerned;
  d) the supervisor who, in application of Title XVI of the DABM, has been appointed to supervise the classified facility or activity;
  e) the senior official of an advisory body appointed in application of the provisions stated in article 24, subparagraph 1 to deliver an opinion for the classified facility or activity.
  f) the senior official of the Environment Department responsible for the Environment Permit.

 
The request stated in point 2°, e) shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 15 within a period of thirty days preceding the month in which the evaluation stated in article 5.4.11 of the DABM would take place.

 

The Environment Permit stated in this article shall be updated in accordance with the provisions of Sections 4 and 5.


Article 82/1.

The competent authority stated in article 15 can amend or supplement the conditions imposed in the Environment Permit  at the reasoned request of the permit holder or the operator.
 
The Environment Permit stated in this article shall be updated in accordance with the provisions of Sections 4 and 5.
 


Section 2.
Updating the subject or duration of the Environment Permit with regard to the operation or classified facility or activity


Article 83.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 15 can limit the subject or duration of the Environment Permit for the operation of a classified facility or activity:

officially through a reasoned initiative;
upon reasoned request by:
  a) the public concerned;
  b) the senior official of an advisory body appointed in application of the provisions stated in article 24, subparagraph 1 to deliver an opinion for the classified facility or activity.

  

To be admissible, the request or the initiative for an official update stated in subparagraph 1 shall be submitted or taken within a period of thirty days from the day after the first day of publication of the end of each twenty-year period of validity of an Environment Permitof unlimited duration.

 

The publication stated in subparagraph 2 shall take place on the initiative of the competent authority stated in article 15 within a period of six months before the end of each twenty-year period of validity of an Environment Permit of unlimited duration. The twenty-year period of validity shall initially begin on the day after the date on which the current initial Environment Permit was granted or, in the case of conversion of an Environment Permit into a permit of unlimited duration, on the day of the acknowledgement stated in article 390, § 2, and then in each case on the first day following the end date of a new twenty-year period of validity of an Environment Permit of unlimited duration.

 

The Government of Flanders can subject the submission of a request as stated in subparagraph 1 to additional conditions of admissibility.


§2.
In its decision on the request or the initiative for an official update as stated in paragraph 1, the competent authority stated in article 15 can:

amend or supplement the environmental conditions;
limit the subject of the operation of the classified facility or activity insofar as the risks and nuisance cannot be reduced to an acceptable level by means of environmental conditions;
limit the duration of the Environment Permit for the operation of the classified facility or activity insofar as this is incompatible with the spatial purpose. In that case, the remaining duration of the Environment Permit shall not be less than seven years

 
§3.

The Environment Permit stated in this article shall be updated in accordance with the provisions of Sections 4 and 5.

 


Section 3.
Updating the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land


Article 84.

§1.

An unexpired Environment Permit for the parcelling of land can be updated following the definitive establishment of a regional spatial plan provided that this is indicated at the provisional and definitive establishment of the plan, at least on the graphic plan.


In the case stated in subparagraph 1, the administrative body responsible for drawing up the plan pursuant to Title II, Chapter II of the VCRO can require the suspension of the sale or lease for more than nine years and of the establishment of a leasehold or building lease in respect of all or part of the parcelling.


Sections 4 and 5 do not apply to this article.

 


Article 85.

§1.
On the initiative of the bench of Mayor and Aldermen, an unexpired Environment Permit for the parcelling of land can, with regard to the unexpired part, be updated after a period of fifteen years from the issue of this Environment Permit in last administrative instance.

 

The updating of the Environment Permit stated in this article shall take place in accordance with the provisions of the normal licensing procedure, on the understanding that the permit request or the request must be read as the request or the petition to update and the applicant as applicant for or requester of the update.

 

Before the start of the public inquiry, the municipality will inform all owners of a lot by ordinary letter or secured dispatch of the public inquiry and of the provisions of paragraph 2.


Before the start of the public inquiry, the municipality will also announce the public inquiry by means of a regular letter or secured dispatch to all owners of parcels that adjoin the allotments that are the subject of the update, before the start of the public inquiry.
 

§2.

The competent authority shall refuse the update if the owners of more than one quarter of the authorised parcels in the Environment Permit for which the update is requested submitted an admissible and well-founded written or digital objection based on spatial reasons during the public review.

 

This objection shall clearly indicate that it originates with the owner of one or more authorised parcels in the Environment Permit for which the update is requested, otherwise the competent authority shall not take this objection into account for the calculation stated in subparagraph 1.

 

The competent authority ruling on the update can require the suspension of the sale or lease for more than nine years and of the establishment of a leasehold or building lease in respect of all or part of the parcelling.

§3.

[...]


Article 86. Translation not available

Section 4.
Procedure for updating the Environment Permit stated in Sections 1 and 2 in first administrative instance


Subsection 1.
Admissibility and completeness review


Article 87.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 15, or the municipal, provincial or regional environmental official shall review the admissibility and completeness of the request to update the Environment Permit.

 

For each official initiative and each request for an update stated in article 83, § 1, 1° or 83, § 1, 2°, b), the subject of which is not the individual application of a programme or plan approved by the Government of Flanders to protect people and the environment, as well as for each request stated in article 83, § 1, 2°, a), the Environment Permit Committee shall investigate whether the stated reasons for the update are manifestly unfounded. If, during its investigation, the Environment Permit Committee finds that the official initiative or the request for an update is based solely on reasons that are manifestly unfounded, the update procedure shall be definitively stopped.

§2.
The result of the investigation stated in paragraph 1, subparagraph 1 and, where applicable, the result of the investigation stated in paragraph 1, subparagraph 2, shall be notified by secured consignment to the requester or to the administrative body that took the official initiative within a period of fifty days from the day after the date on which the request was submitted.

On the same day as the notification referred to in subparagraph 1, the operator of the classified facility or activity shall be informed of any request for an update not submitted by himself, as well as any initiative for an official update, insofar as they were not found to be inadmissible, incomplete or, where applicable, manifestly unfounded.

§3.

If the request to update the Environment Permit was not submitted to the competent authority, article 22 shall apply accordingly.


Subsection 2.
Review of the request and the initiative for an official update of the Environment Permit


Article 88.

The request and the initiative for an official update of the Environment Permit shall be reviewed in accordance with the provisions of articles 23 to 27 inclusive and 29.

 

By way of derogation from article 23, no public review shall be organised for an update to a project that only involves a temporary facility.

 

The Environment Permit Committee stated in article 16, § 1 shall deliver an opinion on:

the updating of the environmental conditions imposed in the Environment Permit stated in article 82, in the cases specified by the Government of Flanders;
the updating of the subject and duration of the Environment Permit stated in article 83.

  

The operator is required to send the competent authority stated in article 15, and the advisory bodies that so request, all available data and information necessary to assess the request or official initiative for an update.

 


Subsection 3.
Decision on the request and the initiative for an official update of the Environment Permit


Article 89.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 15 shall make a decision on the request or the initiative for an official update of the Environment Permit within:

one hundred and five days if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is not required;
one hundred and twenty days if the opinion of an Environment Permit Committee is required.

   
§2.
The time limits stated in paragraph 1 shall ipso jure be extended once by sixty days if use is made of the administrative loop stated in article 13.

 

Notice of the period extension shall be sent to the applicant before the end date of the normal time limit for making a decision.

§3.
The time limits stated in paragraph 1 shall begin:

in the case of a request or an official initiative for an updated as stated in articles 82 and 83 not emanating from the operator, the day after the date on which, pursuant to article 87, § 2, subparagraph 2, the operator is informed of the admissible, complete or, where appropriate, not manifestly unfounded request or official initiative;
in the case of a request for an update as stated in article 82 by the permit holder or the operator, the day after the date on which he is informed that his request has been declared admissible and complete or, in the absence of a decision in that regard, the fiftieth day after the date on which the request for an update was submitted.


§4.
If no decision is taken within the specified or, where applicable, the extended time limit, the request or the initiative for an official update of the Environment Permit shall be deemed to have been refused.

 


Section 5.
Procedure for updating the Environment Permit stated in Sections 1 and 2 in the last administrative instance


Article 90.

§1.
An appeal can be lodged against the express or tacit decision on a request or official initiative to update the Environment Permit with:

the deputation if the bench of Mayor and Aldermen was the competent authority in the first administrative instance;
the Government of Flanders if the deputation was the competent authority in the first administrative instance.

  
The appeal shall suspend the decision.

§2.
The provisions of Chapter 3 shall apply accordingly to the lodging and processing of and the decision regarding the appeal.

If no decision is made within the specified or, where applicable, the extended time limit as stated in article 66, § 2, 2°, the appeal shall be deemed to have been dismissed and the contested decision shall be regarded as definitive.
 
Article 64 and article 66, § 2/1 shall not apply accordingly.

 


Section 6.
Determination of delegation


Article 91.

The Government of Flanders can establish further rules for the updating of the Environment Permit stated in this Chapter.


CHAPTER 7.
Suspension or cancellation of the Environment Permit


Section 1.
Suspension or cancellation of the Environment Permit for the operation of the classified facility or activity


Article 92.

The competent authority stated in article 15 can suspend or cancel all or part of the Environment Permit for the operation of a classified facility or activity if the general, sectoral or special environmental conditions are not met.
 
The permit holder or operator shall be informed by secured consignment of the initiative to suspend or cancel the Environment Permit. The permit holder or operator shall be heard at his request.

 


Article 93.

Unless the decision to suspend or cancel the Environment Permit  was taken by the Government of Flanders, the permit holder or operator can lodge an appeal against this decision with the Government of Flanders.
 
The appeal shall suspend the decision.
 
The Government of Flanders shall take a decision on the appeal within a period of one hundred and twenty days beginning either on the day after the date on which the permit holder or operator was informed that his appeal is admissible and complete or, in the absence of a decision in that regard, the thirtieth day after the date on which the appeal was lodged.

If no decision is taken within the time limit specified in subparagraph 3, the appeal shall be deemed to have been allowed and the contested decision shall lapse.

 


Article 94.

If the competent authority stated in article 15 does not intervene, either fully or partly, the Government of Flanders can, by reasoned decision, at any time and irrespective of the classification category, wholly or partially suspend or cancel the Environment Permit for the operation of a classified facility or activity.


Article 95.

If the competent authority wholly or partially suspends or cancels the omgevingsvergunning for the operation of a classified facility or activity, it can also wholly or partially suspend or cancel the Environment Permit for the urban development action that is inextricably linked with such operation. If an existing construction is involved, the latter shall only be possible if this construction is not structurally suited to the same or a new function.


Article 96.

If no appeal is lodged against a suspension or cancellation as stated in article 92, or if it was confirmed in the last administrative instance, Title XVI of the DABM shall be applied.If no appeal is lodged against a suspension or cancellation as stated in article 92, or if it was confirmed in the last administrative instance, Title XVI of the DABM shall be applied.


Section 2.
Cancellation of the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land


Article 97.

An Environment Permit for the parcelling of land can be wholly or partially cancelled in the cases and under the same conditions and procedural provisions stated in articles 84 and 85. In the case stated in subparagraph 1, the suspension can be required of the sale or lease for more than nine years and of the establishment of a leasehold or building lease in respect of all or part of the parcelling.


Section 3.
Determination of delegation


Article 98.

The Government of Flanders can establish further rules for the suspension or cancellation of the Environment Permit stated in Sections 1 and 2 of this Chapter.


CHAPTER 8.
Lapse and surrender of the Environment Permit


Section 1.
Lapse of the Environment Permit for the execution of urban development activities, the operation of a classified establishment or activity, retail activities or modification of the vegetation


Article 99.

§ 1.

The Environment Permit shall lapse ipso jure in each of the following cases:

if the licensed urban development actions are not started within two years of the final Environment Permit being granted;
if the licensed urban development actions are interrupted for more than three successive years;
if the licensed urban buildings are not windproof within five years after the final Environment Permit has been granted;
if operation of the licensed activity does not start within five years of the final Environment Permit being granted;
if the retail activities do not commence within five years after the granting of the final Environment Permit.

 

The period stated in the first paragraph, 1°, can, however, at the request of the licence holder, be extended for a period of two years if he demonstrates that the non-realisation is the result of an unusual cause that cannot be attributed to him. The permitholder must submit the application for the extension, under penalty of expiry, with a secured dispatch and at least three months before the expiry of the original expiry period of two years to the authority that issued the permit. That authority will only refuse the request for the extension if:

there is no strange cause that cannot be attributed to the permit holder.
the requested and licensed actions are in conflict with urban development regulations or parcelling regulations that have since been amended.

 

The government delivers its decision no later than the day of the expiry of the original expiry period of two years. In the absence of a decision, the extension is deemed to have been approved. If the extension is approved, the terms stated in the first paragraph, 3° and 4°, are also extended by two years.

 

If the Environment Permit expressly mentions the various phases of the construction project, the time limits of two, three or five years stated in paragraph 1 shall be calculated per phase. For the second and subsequent phases, the time limits for lapsing shall therefore be calculated from the start date of the phase in question.

 

§ 2.

The Environment Permit for the operation of a classified facility or activity shall lapse ipso jure in each of the following cases:

if the operation of the licensed activity or facility is interrupted for more than five successive years;
if the classified facility is damaged by fire or explosion caused by its operation;
if operation is completely and definitely stopped on a voluntary basis in accordance with the conditions and rules stated in the Decree of 9 March 2001 governing the voluntary, complete and definitive cessation of production of all animal manure from one or more species of animal and its implementing orders. The Government of Flanders can establish more specific rules for notification of stoppage.

 

§ 2/1

The Environment Permit for carrying out retail activities will automatically expire if the retail activities are interrupted for more than five consecutive years.

 

§ 2/2

The Environment Permit for changing the vegetation will automatically lapse if the modification of the vegetation does not start within two years after the final Environment Permit has been granted.

 

§ 3.

If the cases stated in paragraph 1 relate to part of a construction project, the Environment Permit shall only lapse for the unfinished part of a construction project. A part is only finished when it can be regarded as a separate construction that satisfies the structural requirements, where applicable after the unfinished parts have been dismantled.

 

If the cases stated in paragraph 1 or 2 only relate to part of the operation of the classified facility or activity, the Environment Permit shall only lapse for that part.


Article 100.

The Environment Permit shall remain fully valid if the operation of a classified facility or activity of a project changes from category 1 to category 2 or vice versa due to a change in the classification list.
 
In the event that the operation of a classified establishment or activity of a project changes from ckass 1 or 2 to class 3 due to an amendment to the classification list or due to a partial discontinuation, the permit will act as a notification deed and the special conditions continue to apply.


Article 101.

The terms of two, three or five years stated in Article 99, extended where appropriate in accordance with Article 99, § 1, will be suspended as long as an appeal for annulment of the Environment Permit is pending before the Council for Permit Disputes, in accordance with Chapter 9, unless the licensed activities contravene a spatial implementation plan that entered into force before the final decision of the Council. In that last case, any right to plan compensation shall not be affected. 


The terms of two, three or five years, stated in Article 99, extended where appropriate in accordance with Article 99, § 1, will be suspended during the execution of the archaeological excavation, described in the approved archaeology memorandum in accordance with Article 5.4.9 of the Immovable Heritage Decree of July 12, 2013 and in the ratified memorandum in accordance with Article 5.4.17 of the Immovable Heritage Decree of 12 July 2013, with a maximum term of one year from the start date of the archaeological excavation.
 
The terms of two, three or five years, stated in Article 99, extended where appropriate in accordance with Article 99, § 1, will be suspended during the execution of the soil remediation work of a soil remediation project for which the OVAM has issued a certificate of compliance pursuant to  Article 50, §1 of the Soil Decree of 27 October 2006, by a maximum term of three years from the start date of the soil remediation work.

 

The terms of two, three or five years, stated in Article 99, extended where appropriate in accordance with Article 99, § 1, will be suspended as long as a validated cease and desist order, as stated in Title VI of the VCRO, is not revoked or cancelled by a decision with the authority of res judicata. The suspension shall end ipso jure when the lifting of the prohibition order is not demanded or the prohibition order is not repealed within a period of two years from ratification of the prohibition order.
 


Section 2.
Lapse of the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land


Article 102.

§1.
An Environment Permit for the parcelling of land whereby no new roads are constructed or the route of existing municipal roads does not need to be changed, widened or eliminated shall lapse ipso jure if:

the sale, lease for more than nine years or establishment of a leasehold or building lease in respect of at least one third of the parcels has not been registered within a period of five years from the issue of the definitive Environment Permit;
such registration of at least two thirds of the parcels has not taken place within a period of ten years from the issue of the definitive Environment Permit.

 
For the application of subparagraph 1:

the following shall be equated with sale: the division of estate and donation, on the understanding that just one parcel per partner or beneficiary shall be eligible;
the sale, lease for more than nine years or establishment of a leasehold or building lease of the parcelling as a whole shall be ineligible;
only rental that is aimed at allowing the tenant to build on the leased property shall be eligible.

  
For the application of subparagraph 1, temporary building by the parceller in accordance with the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land shall be equated with sale.

§2.
An Environment Permit for the parcelling of land whereby new roads are constructed or the route of existing municipal roads is changed, widened or eliminated shall lapse ipso jure if:

the charges to be executed immediately have not been delivered or guarantees relating to the execution of these charges have not been provided in the manner stated in article 75 within a period of five years from the issue of the definitive Environment Permit;
registration of the legal transactions stated in paragraph 1 has not taken place in respect of at least one third of the parcels within a period of ten years from the issue of the definitive Environment Permit;
registration of the legal transactions stated in paragraph 1 has not taken place in respect of at least two thirds of the parcels within a period of fifteen years from the issue of the definitive Environment Permit.


For the application of subparagraph 1, temporary building by the parceller in accordance with the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land shall be equated with sale.

§3.

If the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land expressly mentions the different phases of the parcelling project, the time limits for lapsing stated in paragraphs 1 to 2 inclusive shall be calculated per phase. For the second and subsequent phases, the time limits for lapsing shall therefore be calculated from the start date of the phase in question.

§4.

The lapse stated in paragraph 1 and 2, 2° and 3° shall only apply with respect to that part of the parcelling that has not been built on, sold, leased or subjected to a leasehold or building lease.

§5.

Without prejudice to paragraph 4, an automatic lapse cannot be invoked vis-à-vis persons who avail themselves of the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land if they can demonstrate that, after the lapse and in relation to one or more of their parcels within the parcelling, the authority allowed changes to this Environment Permit or granted urban development or building permits or urban development certificates, insofar as these were not found to be unlawful by the higher authority or the courts.

§6.

The Government of Flanders can take measures in relation to notification of automatic lapses.

 


Article 103. Translation not available

Section 3.
Surrender of the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land


Article 104.

A parceller can unilaterally surrender the rights he has acquired from the Environment Permit for the parcelling of land, unless the execution of this Environment Permit has already begun, either by performing one or more legal transactions stated in article 102, § 1 or by carrying out works to which the issue of the Environment Permit is linked. The entire Environment Permit for the parcelling of land can be waived by the owner who has acquired all parcels or, if all owners agree, regardless of whether this Environment Permit has been wholly or partially realised. The board of Mayor and Aldermen shall be notified of a waiver by secured consignment.


CHAPTER 9.
Appeal against decisions taken in the last administrative instance


Article 105.

§ 1.

The following decisions can be contested at the Council for Permit Disputes, stated in Title IV, Chapter VIII, of the Flemish Spatial Planning Code:

the explicit or tacit decision regarding an Environment Permit request, taken in last administrative instance;
the decision on a request or initiative to impose, amend or supplement the conditions in last administrative instance;
the decision on an application for deviation from the general and sectoral environmental conditions;
the explicit or tacit decision regarding a report, stated in Article 111 of this Decree.

 

§ 2.

The appeal can be lodged by:

the permit applicant, the permit holder, the operator or the person who made the notification;
the public concerned;
the senior official of the advisory bodies stated in article 24 or article 42 or, in his absence, his authorised representative if this body has given a timely opinion or if it was incorrectly not asked for an opinion;
the board of Mayor and Aldermen if it has given a timely opinion or if it was incorrectly not asked for an opinion;
[...]
the senior official of the Environment Department or, in his absence, his authorised representative;
the senior official of the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or, in his absence, his authorised representative, if the project involves retail activities requiring a permit.
the senior official of the agency, responsible for nature and forest, or, in his absence, his authorised representative if the project involves changes to the vegetation requiring a permit.

 

The person who can be reproached for not having challenged a decision that was disadvantageous to him by means of the organised administrative appeal open for that purpose with the competent authority stated in article 52 shall be deemed to have waived his right to appeal to the Council for Permit Disputes.

 

[... annulled by judgment 46/2019 of the Constitutional Court of 14 March 2019].

 

The competent authority, referred to in Article 15, which has failed to make an explicit decision at first administrative instance, is deemed to have waived its right to apply to the Council for Permit Disputes, except in cases of force majeure.

 

§ 3.

To be admissible, the appeal shall be lodged within a limitation period of forty-five days beginning:

the day after the service date for those persons or bodies on whom/which the decision is served;
the day after the first day of promulgation of the decision in all other cases.

 

§ 4.

Each of the persons stated in paragraph 2, subparagraph 1 can intervene in the matter.


CHAPTER 10.
Notifications


Section 1.
General provisions


Article 106.

A notification can only be made for notifiable urban development activities, a notifiable operation of classified establishments or activities that the project comprises or a combination of these.


Article 107.

The Board of the Mayor and Aldermen or its environmental officer is authorised to record the notifiable activities and the notifiable operation or the refusal thereof.

 

Without prejudice to article 5.2.1 of the DABM, the Environment Permit shall count as acknowledgement for that part of the project that is subject to notification if a ruling is given simultaneously on the permit application and the notification.
If the permit is refused, the notification shall not be given any further consideration.
 


Article 108.

The Government of Flanders shall establish further rules for the manner of notification, the procedure and acknowledgement stated in Sections 2 and 3 of this Chapter.


Section 2.
Notification procedure


Article 109.

The notification shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 107 by secured consignment.


Article 110.

The notification shall be submitted to the competent authority stated in article 107 by secured consignment.The operator of a classified facility or activity that has become subject to notification through the expansion or amendment of the classification list shall inform the competent authority stated in article 107 of the existence of the operation within a period of six months from the day after the date on which this expansion or amendment takes effect.
 
By way of derogation from article 112, operation may be continued.

 


Article 111.

The competent authority stated in article 107 shall examine whether the notified actions or operation are subject to notification or are not prohibited under or by virtue of:

Article 5.4.3, § 3 of the DABM;
Article 4.2.2, § 1 and Article 4.2.4 of the VCRO.

 

The competent authority stated in article 107 shall take a definitive decision on the permit request within a period of:

twenty days if the notification relates purely to the operation of a classified establishment or activity of the third class;
thirty days in all other cases.

 

This authority informs the person who made the report within the same period. The periods stated in the second paragraph commence on the day after the date of the notification.

 

If no decision has been taken and notified to the person who made the notification within the period stated in the second paragraph, the notification is deemed to have been acted upon.


Article 112.

The project may be carried out or exploited the day after the date of service of the notification deed or the day after the expiry of the decision period if the notification is deemed to have been acted upon.
 
The lapse regulation stated in Articles 99 and 101 applies mutatis mutandis to the notification deed.
 


Section 3.
Characteristics of the notification


Article 113.

§1.
The competent authority stated in article 107 can impose conditions in the notification document, including special environmental conditions.
 
The competent authority stated in article 107 can also impose special environmental conditions on the operation of a classified facility or activity during operation. In that case, the competent authority shall send its decision in that regard by secured consignment to the person who made the notification.

§2.
The conditions may not disproportionately limit or prohibit the notification.
 
The special environmental conditions shall be imposed with a view to protecting people and the environment against the consequences of the operation. The special environmental conditions cannot include any emission limit values and cannot derogate from the best available techniques as described in the general and sectoral environmental conditions stated in Title V, Chapter 4 of the DABM.

 


CHAPTER 11.
Amending provisions

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