Environment in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's environmental practice, which is led by Gauthier van Thuyne, is strong in advising on contamination issues, environmental permitting, planning and zoning, and waste management. Environmental litigation forms another core area of instruction for the group, which has also been kept busy assisting large corporations with climate regulatory matters. Senior associate Fee Goossens is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Gauthier van Thuyne

Other key lawyers:

Fee Goossens

Testimonials

Gauthier van Thuyne is an excellent lawyer with huge experience and strategic thinking‘.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick is well known for undertaking complex environmental law projects in Belgium and advises on noise nuisance, waste management, contentious and non-contentious permitting matters, soil pollution, zoning and emissions issues, among other areas. François Tulkens and senior associate Charles Poncelet lead the advice to Brussels Capital Region on a number of ongoing, high-profile noise limitation cases. Tulkens co-heads the practice with Dominique Devos, who has expertise in brownfields, soil pollution and permit matters. Counsel Filip De Preter is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Dominique Devos; François Tulkens

Other key lawyers:

Charles Poncelet; Filip De Preter

Key clients

Total

Vastint Belgium

VREG

BOFAS

DP World

The Flemish Region

Air Liquide

Renewi

LIDL Belgium

Fluxys

Aspria

Work highlights

  • Representing the Belgian State in a dispute with a prominent oil company concerning biofuel mixing, which features prominently in Belgium’s carbon emission reduction policies.
  • Acts as counsel to LIDL on all environmental law matters, most recently on permitting and pollution issues pertaining to two projects under development.
  • Advises oil and gas company Total on a range of environmental issues, most recently on permitting disputes.

Stibbe

Led by Jan Bouckaert, Stibbe's team handles a broad range of environmental and planning matters for clients such as government agencies and companies operating in the energy and real estate sectors, among others. Recent highlights included France Maussion and counsel Olivier Di Giacomo advising the Brussels Environment Agency on the planned rehabilitation of the former Boitsfort racecourse in Brussels, including the town planning aspects of the project. Nuclear law, waste management, soil pollution and permitting matters are the group's other areas of expertise. At senior associate level, Guan Schaiko and Bastiaan Schelstraete are names to note. Counsel Pieter Vandenheede has left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Jan Bouckaert

Other key lawyers:

France Maussion; Olivier Di Giacomo; Guan Schaiko; Bastiaan Schelstraete

Key clients

Air Liquide

Aldi

BASF

Be Real Estate

Befimmo

Belgian Farmers Union (Boerenbond)

BNP Paribas Fortis

BVI.be

Codic

DC Industrial

Ertzberg

Fost Plus

Immobel

Matexi

Proximus

Prowinko

Work highlights

  • Assisting Air Liquide with permitting matters pertaining to a hydrogen plant in the port of Antwerp.
  • Advising Neo on the environmental, real estate and town planning aspects of Project NEO, an ongoing reconstruction and redevelopment of the Heysel site.
  • Assisting Prowinko with the permitting application process for its mixed-use Grand Place project.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's team, which is jointly led by Jean-François Vandenberghe and senior counsel Pascal Mallien, advises clients on noise nuisance, permits, soil and air pollution, litigation, waste and nature conservation, among other areas. Mallien is representing Lukoil Belgium in a challenge of a decision not to extend the client's environmental permit in the town of Genk in Belgium. Of counsel Mario Deketelaere is very experienced in soil-related matters, environmental liability, environmental taxes and permits.

Practice head(s):

Pascal Mallien; Jean-François Vandenberghe

Other key lawyers:

Mario Deketelaere

Key clients

Octa+

Lukoil Belgium

Vopak

Aleris

Electrabel

Orange

Work highlights

  • Assists Electrabel with monitoring environmental legislation.
  • Representing Fuel Service (Octa group) in proceedings concerning air pollution issues arising from decontamination works.

LDR Advocaten in Omgevingsrecht

LDR Advocaten in Omgevingsrecht's practice operates from its offices in Ghent and Bruges, and is well known as an environmental and spatial planning law boutique. Isabelle Larmuseau heads up the environmental law group in Ghent, which handles a broad range of matters for clients, including nature conservation regulations, waste management, environmental permitting and emission rights. In Bruges, Pieter-Jan Defoort leads the spatial planning team, whose expertise includes issues concerning listed buildings, spatial implementation plans and zoning plans. Laurent Proot is a key contact in the Ghent office for spatial planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Isabelle Larmuseau; Pieter-Jan Defoort; Laurent Proot

Linklaters

Lieve Swartenbroux is the key contact at Linklaters, which advises prominent corporates on regulatory matters concerning waste management, permits, land planning, emissions trading and soil contamination issues. Swartenbroux is knowledgeable about the environmental aspects of permit issues in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Lieve Swartenbroux

Lydian

The 'very responsive' Wouter Neven heads up the team at Lydian, which stands out for its 'thorough expertise' in contentious and non-contentious environmental matters. The group handles environment-related litigation before the Council of State and the Flemish Council for Permit Disputes. On the non-contentious side, the team has particular strengths in advising on the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, waste management and permits, among other areas. Senior associate Kyoto Van Herreweghe is 'intelligent, fast-thinking, a great strategist and easy-going'. In February 2020, senior associate Mehdy Abbas Khayli moved to the Paris office of Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I..

Practice head(s):

Wouter Neven

Other key lawyers:

Kyoto Van Herreweghe

Testimonials

Lydian’s approach is all about being committed, available, responsive and proactive‘.

Kyoto Van Herreweghe is a very knowledgeable and competent lawyer – strategic thinker and takes a practical approach by involving environmental agencies‘.

Wouter Neven’s calm demeanour makes him easy to work with and makes him effective in persuading people to his point of view‘.

Work highlights

  • Assisting Real Estate and Leasing Company NV, the real estate branch of Compagnie Maritime Belge and Exmar, with the urban planning and environmental permits needed for the development of a Maritime Campus.

NautaDutilh

At NautaDutilh, senior counsel Patrick Peeters is leading the advice to Umicore on the end-of-waste criteria under the Waste Framework Directive and the Flemish implementing legislation. Soil pollution, brownfields and environmental permitting matters have also featured in the team's recent workload. Peeters shares leadership of the practice with public law expert Jens Mosselmans. Associate Bert D’hondt is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Peeters; Jens Mosselmans

Other key lawyers:

Bert D’hondt

Key clients

Belgian Shell

Umicore

Ghelamco

Electrabel

Work highlights

  • Advising Belgian Shell on environmental permits pertaining to petrol and LNG service stations.

Adhemar Advocaten

Adhemar Advocaten's team is advising BESIX Infra on all environmental and permitting matters concerning the client's candidacy for a DBFM (design, build, finance and maintain) contract for rebuilding the R4 West and East roads in Ghent. Other areas of strength for the group include advising on expropriations and acting for clients in environment-related proceedings before the Council of State, the Council for Permit Disputes and the civil courts. Jan Roggen, Joris De Pauw and newly promoted partner Jannick Poets jointly lead the practice. Stefanie Debeuf is a key contact for real estate-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Joris De Pauw; Jan Roggen; Jannick Poets

Other key lawyers:

Stefanie Debeuf

Key clients

Droneport

Rinkonien

City of Vilvoorde

Foyer De Lork

Vulpia

BESIX Infra

Work highlights

  • Representing Droneport in proceedings before the Council of State over a zoning plan.
  • Assisting Rinkonien, on an ongoing basis, with all environmental and permitting aspects of the first phase of the construction of the Oosterweel connection in Antwerp.
  • Provides ongoing assistance to Storm Windpower concerning all urban planning and environmental law issues pertaining to the construction of several wind farms in the Flemish region.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's 'experienced' team, which has 'thorough knowledge of the legislation', covers the spectrum of environmental law matters. Led by Bob Martens, the group handles instructions from clients across all three Belgian regions, such as zoning matters, brownfields redevelopment, permitting issues, waste management and environmental and urban litigation. Martens is leading the advice to the European Commission on the auctioning of emission allowances under the EU's Emissions Trading System. Key names to note are senior lead lawyer Thomas Sterckx, who is experienced in handling town and zone planning matters. Counsel Alec Van Vaerenbergh is noted for his expertise in climate change matters. Counsel Lieven Annaert advises on contentious waste-related mandates. Urban planning law expert Birgit Creemers is another key figure. Annelies Verlinden left the firm to become Minister of the Interior in the Belgian government.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Sterckx; Alec Van Vaerenbergh; Lieven Annaert; Birgit Creemers

Key clients

European Commission

bpost

Sabic

Kolmont

City of Antwerp

Kinepolis

Work highlights

  • Assisted a prominent food corporation with a development project involving soil pollution issues.

Eubelius

Eubelius' practice, which is jointly led by Barteld Schutyser and newly promoted partner Bart Martel, excels in handling environmental regulatory issues relating to domestic and international M&A. The team also acts for clients in environmental litigation connected with major infrastructure projects. Martel is leading the ongoing advice to Proximus on issues over the installation of telecoms infrastructure, including permitting disputes and environmental regulations. Associate Laura Janssens is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Barteld Schutyser; Bart Martel

Other key lawyers:

Laura Janssens

Key clients

Uplace

Albert Heijn Belgium

City of Mortsel

City of Ostend

Proximus

A&S Energie

Comeos

Flemish Community Commission

Work highlights

  • Advising Albert Heijn België on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters concerning the opening of new retail spaces in Belgium.
  • Assisting the city of Mortsel with expropriation cases connected with a prominent urban development project.
  • Assisting Club Brugge with obtaining urban planning and environmental permits for the development of a new football stadium.

Janson

At Janson, the public and administrative law practice fields practitioners with 'excellent legal knowledge' of environmental matters. Waste management, permits, soil pollution issues, environmental tax and environmental criminal law are among the team's areas of expertise. Dominique Lagasse is acting for Recupel (alongside other non-profit organisations) before the Constitutional Court in ongoing proceedings over the imposition of taxes in the Flemish and Walloon regions on waste management organisations. Jan Ghysels has particular expertise in expropriations and town and country planning law. Stijn Verbeke has established strength in handling environmental take-back obligations and environmental management agreements, particularly in relation to waste electronic and electrical equipment. Other key names include Geoffrey Ninane and counsel Jo Rams, who 'sets himself apart from his peers by his determination and drive to find legal solutions'.

Practice head(s):

Dominique Lagasse; Jan Ghysels; Stijn Verbeke; Geoffrey Ninane

Other key lawyers:

Jo Rams

Key clients

Recupel

Recytyre

Monard Law

Monard Law's 'accessible' team garners praise for its 'solution-oriented thinking'. It assists public authorities and private entities from a wide range of sectors with obtaining environmental, socio-economic, urban planning and building permits. In addition, other areas of expertise include waste management, expropriation cases, sustainable energy projects and soil pollution. Koen Geelen and Wouter Moonen lead the advice to WeAreOne.World, the organiser of the Tomorrowland dance festival, on soil pollution issues in connection with the development of the site where the client's headquarters are based. France Vlassembrouck and senior associate Sarah Jacobs are also key figures. Senior associate Bernard Vanheusden left the firm in September 2020.

Practice head(s):

Koen Geelen; France Vlassembrouck; Wouter Moonen

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Jacobs

Key clients

Democo

WeAreOne.World

Living Tomorrow

Ciril

Primagaz Belgium

Work highlights

  • Acts as counsel to the Flemish government on all expropriation cases, including representing the client in administrative and civil court proceedings.
  • Assisting Primagaz with obtaining environmental permits required for the expansion of a gas storage facility.
  • Assisting innovation company Living Tomorrow with obtaining the environmental permits needed to build an innovation campus in Vilvoorde.

Publius

Publius' 'responsive' team is experienced in handling contentious and non-contentious permitting matters for clients. Steve Ronse is acting for the Flemish Region in multiple ongoing proceedings before the Council of Permit Disputes and the Council of State over the building of windmills. Elsewhere, the group advises clients on issues such as climate change, noise, planning, zoning and enforcement. Senior partner Dirk Van Heuven, the 'accessible' Günther L’heureux, urban development law expert Meindert Gees, the 'always available' Jan Beleyn and Sofie Logie are key figures in the department. Also recommended is associate Merlijn De Rechter, who is experienced in advising on social-economic permits. Roel Meeus joined Schoups as counsel in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Van Heuven; Günther L’heureux; Steve Ronse; Jan Beleyn; Meindert Gees; Sofie Logie

Other key lawyers:

Merlijn De Rechter

Testimonials

Merlijn De Rechter is known for his expertise and retailers see him as the guy to go to with matters regarding permits‘.

They have an excellent understanding of the legal framework and the local practices. Their advice is always relevant and they always respect deadlines. An excellent team to have on-board!’

Key clients

Flemish Region

Flemish Government

Colruyt Group

Ethias

The Belgian State

City of Aalst

FGE International (Five Guys)

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Flemish Region in a very high-profile, ongoing climate case involving hundreds of plaintiffs.
  • Assisting the Flemish Region’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with environmental permits.
  • Assisting FGE International with obtaining environmental permits required for opening restaurants in Belgium.

PwC Legal

PwC Legal, which is primarily active in domestic mandates, demonstrates strong capabilities advising on a broad range of environmental issues associated with the development of real estate projects. The 'very decisive' Els Empereur leads the 'client-oriented' team, which is experienced in acting for real estate developers. At senior managing associate level, names to note are Olivier Drooghmans and Ive Van Giel, with the latter being noted for his 'no-nonsense approach'.

Practice head(s):

Els Empereur

Other key lawyers:

Olivier Drooghmans; Ive Van Giel

Testimonials

Experienced lawyers with a broad experience in environmental legislation‘.

Professional approach with fast and clear communication‘.

Key clients

Extensa

Eco Worldwide Solutions

Kaneka Eurogentec

Belfius Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Extensa on environmental issues regarding the development of land between the Groeningenlei and the highway E19 in Kontich into an allotment of over 400 plots.
  • Advising mobility projects company De Werkvennootschap on environmental issues associated with the PPP road infrastructure project Noord-Zuidverbinding Limburg.
  • Assisting 3D Real Estate with zoning and environmental permit matters regarding the development of a residential real estate project.

Schoups

Schoups' environment practice 'stands out with its dynamic, pragmatic and solution-oriented approach'. The team continues to advise longstanding client Carrefour on permit requirements connected with new retail opportunities in Belgium, and is representing the client before the Council of State and the Council for Permit Disputes in appeal proceedings concerning permit decisions. Kristof Hectors and Marco Schoups are the joint heads of the practice, while associates Céline Bimbenet and Rami Nasser are other names to note. In October 2020, Roel Meeus joined as counsel from Publius.

Practice head(s):

Kristof Hectors; Marco Schoups

Other key lawyers:

Céline Bimbenet; Rami Nasser; Roel Meeus

Testimonials

Kristof Hectors stands out in providing fast and clear hands-on advice‘.

Céline Bimbenet and Rami Nasser show extraordinary commitment to every case on which they lay their hands‘.

Key clients

Carrefour