Doing business in Belgium: Environmental rules05 March 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 30 March 2012
The following guidlines provide information about the environmental regulations in Belgium that help companies run sustainable businesses without adversely impacting the environment.
Business waste management is primarily organised at the regional level. Waste incineration is also regulated within the three regions.
Waste cannot be incinerated in the Brussels-Capital Region without a permit; dumping of shredded waste is also prohibited. Furthermore, hazardous waste must be collected as a 'controlled risk' and disposed of in facilities provided for this purpose.
The Wallonia Waste Agency is responsible for collecting waste to be disposed of or recycled.
In Flanders, the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) is responsible for waste management and soil cleanup.
Climate and the air
The competent bodies for climate and the air are:
You can find more information in real time on the quality of air in the three regions (as well as predictions for the following days) on the website of the Interregional Cell for the Environment (CELINE-IRCEL):
Protection Against Noise
The competent bodies with regard to protection against noise are:
The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN) promotes effective protection of the population, workers and the environment against the dangers of ionizing radiation.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.
Urban Planning and Housing
The Urban Planning and Housing Administration is in charge of urban planning permits for the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Urban Planning and Housing Administration is in charge of administering urban planning permits in the Walloon Region.
The competent body for urban planning in Flanders is the Flanders Regional Planning Agency which is also in charge of administering urban planning permits.
The IBGE provides the forms relating to waste for the Brussels-Capital Region online.
The Directorate General for Natural Resources and the Environment provides the forms relating to waste in the Walloon Region.
The Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) provides the forms relating to waste in the Flanders Region.
Forms (keyword 'waste'/'afval'')
The Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment provides the forms relating to chemicals.
The IBGE provides forms relating to water catchments and the declarations required to set the price for industrial wastewater treatment.
The Directorate General for Natural Resources and the Environment provides the forms relating to water in the Region of Wallonia.
The Flemish Water Supply Company (VMW) and the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) provide information and application forms relating to water in the Flanders Region.
Permits and licences
An environmental permit is required for many types of activities and construction. To find out what steps to take, you must first determine what category your business is in.
The administrative procedures for obtaining environmental permits vary by region. All applications must be submitted in the municipality in which your business is located.
The bodies responsible for inspections relating to town planning and urbanism are:
The DG Environment is responsible for protecting consumers at the federal level. Inspections serve both as deterrent and in a punitive role toward businesses.
The law provides for inspections and fines in the event of non-compliance with waste legislation.
The DG Environment is responsible for monitoring compliance with legislation on the marketing of dangerous substances and preparations at the federal level.
The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) covers any situation involving risk from exposure to ionizing radiation to workers, the public or the environment.
The Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment provides guides, forms and information to entrepreneurs.
Brussels Environment is the agency for the environment and energy in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Wallonia environment portal, the Association of the Self-Employed (UCM) website, and the Walloon Business Federation (UWE) website provide brochures, information, publications, forms and a number of links relating to environmental matters.
The Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) provides a range of information on waste management and soil cleanup.
The Enterprise Flanders portal provides information on environmental allowances.
The EMIS portal provides information on environmental standards.
The Flanders Department of Environment and Infrastructure provides information on the environment and legislation in the Flanders Region.
To encourage your company to respect the environment, the Brussels-Capital Region provides support and consulting for environmental investments.
Source: European Commission