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Real estate: Objecting to an integrated environmental permit: how does that work?

Publication date: 13 December 2016
Your neighbour is granted an integrated environmental permit which will cause you more inconvenience. What can you do against the granted permit?

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It may happen that someone is granted an integrated environmental permit you disagree with. A permit granted in your immediate neighbourhood may have an impact on your situation. For instance, the café next to your commercial property may get a permit to build a terrace which causes you (extra) inconvenience, or your neighbours may get a permit for an extension of their house and, as a result, your garden will get less sun. What can you do to prevent this?

Procedure after a request for an integrated environmental permit

If an integrated environmental permit is requested, the request will be assessed by the municipal executive. The municipal executive can either grant or refuse a permit. This decision will be published on the website of the municipality. A decision on simple requests will be issued within eight weeks. More complex requests – for instance requests to derogate from the zoning plan – have to be decided on within a period of 26 weeks. In this article simple requests will be discussed only. More complex requests are subject to another procedure.

Raising objections

You can object to a decision to grant an integrated environmental permit by submitting a statement of objections to the body who has taken the decision. To do so you must be a “concerned party”, meaning: The decision must have consequences for your immediate environment. By the statement of objections you indicate why you don’t agree with the decision. Please note: you must be quick, as this must be done within six weeks after the permit was granted. If you are too late, you are not entitled to appeal, unless there are extraordinary circumstances!

Procedure during/after objections

The administrative body that has granted the integrated environmental permit you objected to will also assess the objections. There will be a hearing during which you may explain your objections in detail. Ultimately, the body will decide whether to maintain the granted permit, to withdraw or to modify it. The decision-making period to the objections is, in principle, six weeks after the statement of objections was received, but this period can be extended.

During the objection procedure, the activity for which the permit was granted may already be performed. If this concerns felling a tree, we advise to request the court to suspend the taking effect of the permit. Then, the permit holder will not be allowed felling the tree. If the objections are refused and the granted permit will thus take effect, you can appeal the decision in court.

More information

Do you need help with drafting a statement of objections? Would you like to know whether you qualify as a concerned party? Or do you have any other questions regarding spatial planning? Please contact us. We will gladly be of service to you!

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