Look after Mother Nature !

Over these last few years, the environmental legislation has significantly expanded both in Belgium and in Europe. Depending on your company’s activities, you must respect the regulations regarding various aspects, such as waste management, water, air, land pollution, noise pollution, etc.

Breaches of this legislation have been divided into two categories: environmental infringements and environmental offences.

Environmental infringements

Environmental infringements are breaches that have a limited impact on the actual environment, such as failure to respect administrative rules.

They are not punished on a criminal level, but are punished by an administrative fine (which may amount to up to €400 000 [art. 16.4.27 of the DABM decree]).

For example, you commit an environmental infringement if, as owner of a central heating appliance, you do not ensure that the inspection report or a duplicate of it remains next to the appliance as long as the latter remains in service (art. 11 of the Decree from the Flemish government of 8th December 2006).

Risky installations are another example: firms presenting a high risk of land pollution. Certain risky installations are subject to the obligation to perform a land orientation survey every 10 years. Failure to respect this rule may lead to an administrative fine.

Environmental offences

Environmental offences are breaches which may considerably harm the environment or other people.

They may therefore be punished on a criminal level, with up to 2 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of €2 000 000.

Any person managing, abandoning or carrying waste, through lack of precaution or negligence and contrary to the environmental rules, will be punished by imprisonment of between one month and three years and a fine of 100 to 350 000 Euros or only one of these penalties (art. 16.6.3 § 1 of the DABM decree).

Any person who, through lack of precaution or negligence, contrary to the environmental rules, causes significant damage to a habitat referred to in Appendix I, to a habitat of a species referred to in Appendices II or III, or to a habitat of a species referred to in Appendix IV of the decree of 21st October 1997 [...], is punished by imprisonment of between one month and three years and a fine of 100 to 350 000 Euros or only one of these penalties (art. 16.6.3 quater of the DABM decree).

These are just some examples taken randomly, but they illustrate how important it is to know about the legislation applicable to your company.

Failing to have information on the regulations may be considered as a “lack of precaution or negligence”.

This is why we have created a modern digital platform enabling you to have an overview of the legislation to be respected.

Only the legislation that applies in practice to your company is presented to you and the platform enables the efficient monitoring of the aspects for which you are up-to-date and those for which you are not.

You may ask for a no-obligation demonstration via Teams, to discover how this platform works in practice ?

Our legal advisor in charge of environmental law Axel Vandaele is ready to answer at yours questions. This will enable you to avoid any problems or fines and ensure that Mother Nature may have a well-deserved rest!!

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