In this brief contribution, we approach two points of the Environmental Code that have been
changed and that could directly interest companies established in Wallonia.
1. Environmental liability
The list of professional activities that could cause damage to the environment likely to engage
the environmental liability has been completed. The purpose was to ensure the conformity of the
Walloon Code of Environment to the Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to
the prevention and remedying of environmental damage and to the Regulation 1013/2006 on shipments
As a reminder, this directive recognizes the “polluter pays” principle and concerns the
environmental damage as well as the imminent threats of such damage when a causal link between the
damage and a professional activity is established.
To the list of the professional activities enumerated in the appendix 1 of the Walloon Code of
Environment, the Decree of 23 June 2016 adds from now on:
- The waste management operations (especially the collection, the transportation, the
repurposing and the elimination of waste and dangerous waste, including the surveillance of these
operations and the further processing of waste disposal sites) subject to an environmental
permit, a registration or an authorisation;
- Any deliberate release into the environment or transport of genetically modified organisms as
defined by the regulations on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified
organisms or products containing them.
2. The impact studies
The procedure of impact assessment implemented for projects subject to a permit (environmental
permit, single permit, subdivision and planning permit) has undergone some adaptations.
Henceforth, the author of the project must choose one or more authorised person(s) to conduct the
study and immediately notify this choice to the persons and authorities designated by the
government. The latter will check if the authorised chosen person(s) have the required
certification considering the nature of the project.
The government must determine the procedure and the methods regarding the notification of the
choice of the authorised person(s). It must also determine the cases where, for the conduct of a
study, an authorised person can be rejected. It must finally settle on the procedure and the
methods of the rejection.
Besides, a new cause of nullity of the permit has been added to Article D.63 of the Environmental
Code: the nullity must in any case be pronounced by the competent authority on appeal or by the
administrative judge when the persons in charge of the impact study on the environment have been
the subject of a final decision of rejection.
The new decree of the Walloon Parliament has not the ambition to revolutionise the environmental
legislation in Wallonia but proceed through small adjustments and one-off adaptations of the
Therefore the companies, established in the Walloon Region, must check if these modifications
affect their activities or their future projects.
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