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ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Environmental law is an important part of real estate law. Our lawyers can assist you in the following matters: Environmental law, forest decree, spatial planning, urban planning, expropriation, protected status Legal advice can certainly provide added value in these areas.

We explain these different parts for you:

Environmental law

Our lawyers can provide you with sound advice to assist you with your application for an environmental permit.

In addition, environmental law also relates to the Vlarem (Flanders Environment Agency) legislation, pollution, soil law, remediation, high-risk soil, noise standards, environmental enforcement, environmental crime, proceedings before the Environmental Enforcement Court, etc.

Forest decree

Deforestation, compensation, management, definition of forest, nature conservation, felling authorisation, ...

Spatial planning

Spatial planning is governed by the regional plans or spatial implementation plans (SIPs) . During the preparation of a SIP, we can advise and assist you in formulating an objection if this SIP is disadvantageous for you. Also in the context of drawing up a building line plan, we can assist you in drafting an objection during the public inquiry.

Such SIPs and building line plans may be accompanied by an expropriation (plan). The expropriation legislation has several facets, so that legal advice can provide added value, not only during the contesting of an expropriation, but also in a later assessment of the expropriation fee.

Such SIPs can often lead to planning damage if they limit future building possibilities, or to a plan income tax, if the SIP results in a building opportunity. In any case, this change in the development options can have a major financial impact. The legislator has provided certain appropriate procedures to claim planning damage or contest a plan income tax, so that legal support, which we offer, can also help here.

Within every Flemish municipality, there are still residential expansion areas or residential reserve areas. Encroaching on such 'reserve areas' is by no means self-evident. One of the possible options is the agreement in principle. Our firm has already built up the necessary experience and know-how with regard to this legal construction, whereby both developers and local residents have been advised in this matter.

A final 'hot item' within spatial planning can be found in the old Buurtwegenwet (Local Road Act) of 1841. In 1842, all local and pedestrian roads throughout the Kingdom of Belgium were mapped with the indication of their route and width. The legal status of these roads has come back to the fore in recent decades because many local roads are being used again.

LM&DS can assist municipalities or citizens who want to open these local roads according to their original width. In addition, the firm can provide assistance if a municipality has planned to widen, shift or abolish a certain local road.

Town planning law

Our firm has built up many years of experience with the regulations on urban planning, which allows it to assist you in every possible way and within every possible facet of urban planning:

  • With drafting the motivation statement accompanying the application,
  • With drawing up an objection,
  • With lodging an administrative appeal,
  • With defence of your interests at the hearing in the provincial executive.

Our firm also closely follows the ever-changing procedure before the Council for Permit Disputes so that we can defend your interests to the fullest within that body, as the applicant, defendant or intervening party. If desired, LM&DS can conduct the appeal before the Council of State for you.

In addition to these permitting procedures, our firm has formulated numerous opinions for administrative authorities, individuals and companies regarding the applicable rules or certain options within the regulatory framework. Certainly when a private individual or a company is confronted with a certain urban planning problem, our firm tries to unravel the urban planning tangle in a constructive manner, and where possible in consultation with the competent authority, so that the intended project can be realised. The element that the project is zone incompatible or located within an old – but perhaps not lapsed – allotment does not generate an obstacle, but only a new challenge to provide legal certainty.

In addition to the licensing part, urban planning also includes a very important aspect of enforcement. The administrative enforcement consists of the urban development prohibition order. Our firm can provide you with the necessary assistance to submit a claim for the withdrawal of an confirmed urban development prohibition order to the president of the court. A breach of a confirmed prohibition order gives rise to a substantial fine (€ 5,000.00), against which two specific procedures are also available, which our firm can conduct on your behalf.

The area of criminal enforcement mainly concerns the recovery claim. Our firm has already assisted many municipal authorities in drafting a recovery claim so that it can be submitted to the Supreme Council for Enforcement Policy for advice. On the other hand, if you are targeted with a recovery claim yourself, our firm can assist you in your defence when the Supreme Council for Enforcement Policy offers you the opportunity to express your point of view within the framework of a request for advice. It should be specifically noted that the Supreme Council for Enforcement Policy allows only a short eight-day term to formulate this answer.

LM&DS has the necessary experience to review an enforcement case in the very short term and to formulate an answer on your behalf so that the Supreme Council would issue a negative recommendation on the recovery claim and the recovery action would therefore be withdrawn.

When you are served a summons for recovery, which may be criminal or civil, the firm can assist you to fully defend your interests and review the enforcement case in full, while any urban planning violations are meticulously reviewed for accuracy. It will also be examined whether the Supreme Council for Enforcement Policy has correctly issued a (conditional) positive recommendation.

Expropriation

Expropriation plan, expropriation compensation, urgency, quasi-expropriation.

Protected status

Immovable heritage, monuments, townscapes, landscapes, archaeology, obligation to declare finds, etc.

Contact our law firm for more information

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