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.