The acceptance procedures for projects or specific activities such as establishing a new industrial activity, a new road or a land development, require an environmental impact report (to assess the positive and negative effects of a proposed project in advance) and a survey of the population concerned.

These are usually projects with a local scope. In Belgium, the participation procedures for these types of project are covered primarily by the three regions’ legislation on the environment and town planning. Three specific acceptance procedures fall under federal competence, including a public consultation phase: certain activities in the North Sea, the use of genetically modified organisms, and nuclear activities.

Certain activities in the North Sea

windmolensThe Royal Decree of 7 September 2003 (.PDF) (pdf, only available in French and Dutch) specifies the procedure for awarding the licences and authorisations required for certain activities carried out in the marine areas falling under the Belgium’s territorial jurisdiction (the North Sea) and lays down the procedure for the environmental impact assessment. Wind farms, offshore bunkering activities and military activities are examples of such activities...

Further information can be found on the website of the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM): www.mumm.ac.be (WEB)

Genetically modified organisms

The federal participation procedure also applies to the deliberate release into the environment, and marketing of, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Belgium has transposed European Directive 2001/18/EC (.PDF) on the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms into Belgian law through the Royal Decree of 21 February 2005 (.PDF) (only available in French and Dutch). This decree establishes a mechanism for informing and consulting the public on decisions concerning the deliberate release of GMOs for experimental purposes and the commercialisation of GMOs as a product or in products.

Follow this link to view the results of previous public consultations relating to GMOs: GMO’s

Nuclear activities

kerncentraleThe federal State is authorised to award licences for nuclear activities in the nuclear power sector. The Royal Decree of 20 July 2001 (.PDF) (only available in French and Dutch) provides that the licensing procedure must always be preceded by a public enquiry. The procedure is also based on the general rules on the protection of the public, employees and the environment against the threat of ionising radiation.

Further information can be found on the website of the Agence fédérale de Contrôle nucléaire (Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, AFCN): www.fanc.fgov.be (WEB)