Zaventem's 'illegal' permit at threat in dispute
9 November 2005, BRUSSELS — The auditor of the Council of State has requested the suspension of a new environmental permit for Zaventem Airport operator BIAC.
9 November 2005
BRUSSELS — The auditor of the Council of State has requested the suspension of a new environmental permit for Zaventem Airport operator BIAC.
The request was made last month, but only hit the headlines on Wednesday, newspaper 'De Tijd' explained.
Flemish Environment Minister Kris Peeters issued the permit last year, but it is important to note that the Council of State often accepts the advice of its auditor.
BIAC was awarded in July 2004 by a Flemish Brabant deputation an extension of its environmental permit allowing it to operate Zaventem Airport.
Some 225 objections had been lodged against the permit, but Peeters eventually decided to award the new permit on appeal at the end of 2004.
The permit is valid for 20 years and allows 25,000 night flights per year.
Amid a dispute over noise pollution around the airport, a workgroup from the Noordrand and residents from Wemmel and Steenokkerzeel contested the permit in the Council of State.
And the auditor has now backed their stance that the permit should be suspended, pointing out that the Flemish government should have drawn up an environmental impact report.
The auditor said EU legislation — rather than Flemish law — obligates the Belgian regional government to draw up such a report when extending a permit.
An official ruling by the Council of State is now expected at the end of this year.
The federal government's legislative advisory body generally follows the recommendations of the auditor, but not in every case.
However, the airport may not necessarily have to close if the environmental permit is suspended. The Flemish government can withdraw its decision to award the permit and issue a new one.
Objections can still be lodged against the new permit.
In the meantime, the Flemish government is reportedly planning to try and thwart the attempt to suspend the environmental permit.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news