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:

1 at the request of the permit applicant;
2 for projects that only involve temporary facilities or activities as stated in article 5.2.1, 2, subparagraph 2 of the DABM;
3 if the operation relates to groundwater extraction or mining;
4 if a trial Environment Permit is required;
5 with a view to relocating the operation of the classified facility or activity that is incompatible with the spatial purpose;
6 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;
7 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;
8 for constructions that, due to their nature, are temporary in character;
9 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:

1 a takeover of the licensed classified facility or activity by another operator is planned;
2 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.