Article 1.

This Decree governs a regional matter.


Article 2.

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

1 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;
2 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;
3 DABM: the decree of 5 April 1995 containing general provisions on environmental policy;
4 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;
5 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;
6 notification deed: the document showing that the competent authority has explicitly or tacitly taken note of a notification;
7 Environment Permit: the written decision of the licensing authority authorising a project that requires a permit;
8 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;
9 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:

1 the definitions stated in articles 1.1.2 and 4.1.1 of the VCRO;
2 the definitions stated in articles 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the DABM.
3 the definitions stated in article 2 of the decree of 15 July concerning the integral commercial establishment policy.
4 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:

1 Article 1.1.4 of the VCRO;
2 Article 5.1.3 of the DABM;
3

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

4 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:

1 Title IV of the VCRO;
2 Title V of the DABM;
3 the Decree of 15 July concerning the integral commercial establishment policy;
4 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:

1 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.
2 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.