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Our department has considerable experience in these subjects, which are taught at the university by several of its members.
Land use planning, town planning guides and regulations, permits, all of these and more fall within the department’s scope of competences.
The same applies to environmental law and the law governing the following sectors: noise (especially aerial nuisances), water, air, climate, soil pollution, waste, ionising and non-ionising radiation, SEVESO companies, etc.
Town planning and land use
The territory of the Regions is subject to rules governing the distribution of human activities, in the form of land use planning, such as the sector plan in the Walloon Region or the regional land use plan in the Brussels Region. Our department helps local and regional administrations to prepare these plans and assists planning permit applicants whose project might be exempted from or not in line with these plans, in order to increase the chances of permission being obtained.
Building, demolition, cutting down trees, changing the intended use of a property, changing the topography of the ground,… all the work an owner might wish to do. The same applies to a subdivision project.
Is a permit needed? If so, how is it obtained, is there a right of appeal if it is refused… or if one is granted to a neighbour? Will there be a public enquiry or an environmental impact assessment? Our department informs its clients and assists them with all these procedures and, if necessary, files an appeal. Likewise, the department defends the interests of the authorities, especially local and regional authorities, in response to appeals submitted against decisions to grant or refuse permits.
Environmental law and environmental criminal law
The freedom of trade and industry is not unlimited. Numerous installations and activities are subject to control by the public authorities, by means of procedures for granting permits. The department assists its clients in preparing applications and files administrative and judicial appeals in case of refusal. It also supports companies that are subject to control in the course of their operations.
Conversely, our department represents its clients before the administrations or courts, contesting permits that appear to have been granted unfairly and defends them against the industrial nuisances by which they would be impacted.
Polluted soil and waste have recently been subject to a number of legislative and regulatory developments, together with very active case law.
Or department advises its clients with procedures for managing and decontaminating polluted soil, whether as a result of prosecution by the administration or the public ministry, or whether the clean-up is voluntary. In collaboration with the tax department, it also manages cases involving taxes on waste or on the failure to rehabilitate former industrial sites.
Our department also handles the rare and difficult topics of dangerous substances, SEVESO companies, the management of ionising and non-ionising radiation, genetically modified organisms, and CO² emission quotas.
Following the regionalisation of this issue on 1 July 2014, the Regions adopted decrees aimed at overseeing commercial establishments. These are mass distribution companies. Some of these projects require special permits. The department advises applicants and opponents, files appeals if necessary and assists the public authorities.
In collaboration with our tax department, we manage cases involving taxes on waste or on the failure to rehabilitate former industrial sites.
The department advises the expropriating authorities and those being expropriated on all stages of the procedure and up to the payment of fair compensation.