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.