The environmental permit
What is an environmental permit?
An environmental permit is an administrative licence which imposes on self-employed individuals, sole traders, small-scale craft companies or industrial companies measures to take to ensure its activities are not harmful to the environment, health or safety.
An environmental permit is very often required even if you believe that your activities, machines or products do not cause pollution. Search the complete list of installations subject to an environmental permit or via the list of keywords.
The environmental permit explained (FR)
Selected land or property must always be covered by a planning permit corresponding to your activities. One single reliable place to check this: the town’s urban planning department. Don’t settle for information provided by the owner, estate agent or former operator! For many projects, you will need to apply for a new planning permit and comply with the provisions of land use plans).
Submit your permit applications as soon as you have decided on the address of the premises. Plan ahead because you will need to factor in the time it takes to prepare your dossier and the length of the permit application procedure! You cannot start operating until you have obtained the necessary permits.
If you have not obtained your permit, it is ill-advised to sign a commercial lease agreement, a sales agreement, etc. Useful tip: insert a suspension clause in these documents so they only enter into force when the permits are issued.
Apply for an environmental permit
Installations subject to environmental permits are divided into six classes depending on their nature and the extent of the danger they may cause.
As a general rule, you can submit one application for an environmental permit or one declaration. Brussels Environment has put together an administrative guide to help you establish which application to submit (FR) and find the forms.
Type of permit application
Class 1A permit
Apply for a class 1A permit without a prior certificate
Class 1B permit
Apply for a class 1B permit without a prior certificate
Class 1D permit
Class 2 permit
Class 1C declaration
Class 3 declaration
Special cases with regard to procedure
Your class 2 dossier is “public” if you are a public body, you operate a public utility installation or your building is listed or is going to be.
If your project requires both a 1A or 1B environmental permit and a planning permit, it is called a mixed project. Some parts will be the same in the two dossiers (e.g. the impact report) or the two procedures (e.g. the opinion of the Fire and Emergency Medical Assistance Service (SIAMU), the public enquiry)
If your application is class 1B, you will need to have an impact report carried out by a qualified person.
Some activities carry risks of soil pollution (link to soil page). Unless an exemption is obtained, an accredited office will have to do a soil study before your environmental permit is issued.
Does your installation have office-related parking spaces? You will need to comply with the rules imposed by the Brussels Code on Air, Climate and Energy Management (COBRACE).
Do you need more information about environmental permits?
See Brussels Environment’s administrative guide.