Firms To Watch: Environment

Led by environmental law specialist Jeroen De Coninck, Advocatenkantoor De Coninck offers a boutique service to clients across urban planning and environmental regulatory matters relating to infrastructure and real estate development projects.

Environment in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP combines bespoke environmental law work on issues such as waste management, pollution, and permitting with regulatory support for major M&A, corporate financing, and real estate transactions. The firm has a strong record in stand-alone Belgian environmental law cases, and extensive experience in environmental litigation before all levels of domestic courts, as well as handling cross-border mandates. The team is led by Gauthier Van Thuyne, a specialist environmental law practitioner with expertise across the full range of matters, both advisory and contentious, most notably in issues relating to pollution and hazardous substances. Senior associate Fee Goossens advises on environmental regulatory and public law issues, and has a notable focus on renewable energy transition and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Gauthier van Thuyne

Other key lawyers:

Fee Goossens

Testimonials

‘The environmental practice group is very experienced, and they have talented resources internally or through partner firms throughout the world.’

‘Fee Goossens is extremely knowledgeable, always responsive, and focused on client service.’

‘Professional approach to the subject matter and availability to interact directly with government authorities.’

‘Prompt replies and in case of lack of availability other partners/associates able to step in.’

‘They came out on top because of their proactivity, understanding of the problem and management of resources.’

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick is able to advise on the full range of environmental law and related matters, including waste management, pollution, permitting, and project management, combining regulatory capabilities with sector-specific knowledge of key areas such as energy, infrastructure, and public procurement. The team has broad coverage across the Belgian regions, and also represents public and private sector bodies in high-profile environmental litigation. Practice heads François Tulkens  and Dominique Devos are specialist environmental law advisers, both regularly handling complex permitting, pollution, and project development matters. Filip De Preter is of counsel and another key name for planning and permits work, while senior associate Bert Van Herreweghe has represented clients in permits and zoning disputes, alongside advising on brownfield development work.

Practice head(s):

François Tulkens; Dominique Devos

Other key lawyers:

Filip De Preter; Bert Van Herreweghe

Testimonials

In depth knowledge of the Belgian environmental laws in all regions.

Dominique Devos has a very good knowledge of our needs and our business.

Key clients

TOTAL

Fluxys

Lidl

Belgian State

Flemish Region and associated departments

Brussels Capital Region

Veolia

Engie Electrabel

Renewi

Aspria Roosevelt

Spadel

Certis Europe

Work highlights

  • Advised Promaz on its recognition as a soil remediation fund.
  • Advising the Flemish Government on new legislation stimulating the use of zero car emissions.
  • Representing the Brussels Region in high-profile noise limitation cases.

Stibbe

With strong expertise across contentious and non-contentious matters, the ‘experienced, focused, and client-driven‘ team at Stibbe handles complex PPP and brownfield development projects, soil, air, and water pollution issues, and environmental issues relating to M&A transactions, alongside bespoke environmental law proceedings, including drafting legislation and representing clients in liability litigation. Clients include real estate developers and investors, corporate clients involved in real estate purchases, and a wide range of public authorities, both within Belgium and internationally. Jan Bouckaert leads the team, focusing on environmental law and urban planning issues, alongside real estate-related matters, while France Maussion remains active, a vastly experienced figure within real estate development projects. Counsel Olivier Di Giacomo advises on administrative law and public construction projects, while Bastiaan Schelstraete and Stefanie Francois were promoted to counsel in January 2022 in recognition of their work on environmental impact assessments and EU environmental regulations respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jan Bouckaert

Other key lawyers:

France Maussion; Olivier Di Giacomo; Guan Shaiko; Bastiaan Schelstraete; Stefanie Francois

Testimonials

‘The team of Jan Bouckaert is very experienced, focused and client-driven. In difficult times, they bend over backwards to support you.’

‘Stibbe is well equipped in all its practices which means an overall advice is provided if needed.’

‘Jan Bouckaert is very experienced and keeps calm in difficult times.’

‘Bastiaan Schelstraete flies to the moon and back to provide in time quality advice.’

‘Guan Schaiko – very deep knowledge of his practice area – very accessible.’

‘Jan Bouckaert – great ability to explain the matter to non-professionals.’

Key clients

VALIPAC

Aldi Real Estate

Alides REIM

Audi Brussels

BASF

Be Real Estate

BergHOFF Worldwide

Befimmo

Belgian Farmers Union (Boerenbond)

Besix Real Estate Development

BME Real Estate

BNP Paribas Fortis

BVI.be

Codic

Cofinimmo

DC Industrial

De Watergroep (Flemish water company active in 180 municipalities inFlanders)

Eneco Wind Belgium

E.ON Power Plants Belgium

Ertzberg

European Investment Bank (EIB)

Fost Plus

Gamma Belgium

Home Invest

Immobel

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

Lantis and De Werkvennootschap

Makro Cash and Carry Belgium

Matexi

Mercedes-Benz

OVAM (Public Waste Agency of Flanders)

Proximus

Prowinko

Public bodies or with a public share such as: Aquafin (water purification/treatment Flanders);

Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel (BAM), also known as “Lantis”;

the Belgian Buildings Agency (BBA);

Brussels Airport Company (BAC);

City of Brussels and citydev.brussels (development company of the city of Brussels);

De Werkvennootschap;

ISVAG (inter-municipal body for waste treatment Antwerp);

European Investment Bank;

National Bank of Belgium;

the Flemish Land Agency (Vlaamse Landmaatschappij, VLM);

the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Capital Region;

the Flemish Ministry for Justice, Planning, Environment, Energy, and Tourism;

Port of Antwerp (Havenbedrijf Antwerpen);

Sofico (Walloon Region’s financing company):

SCK-CEN (Belgian Centre for Nuclear Research);

SLRB (Brussels public housing company);

SRWT (Walloon Regional Transport Company);

STIB/MIVB (Brussels public transport company).

Suez R&R Belgium

Storm Management

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, US Gov.)

University Hospitals (UZ Leuven, UZ Gent)

Work highlights

  • Advising Beheermaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel on the realisation and execution of the Antwerp Masterplan 2020 for the creation of a multi-modal transport infrastructure programme for the city of Antwerp, including both the construction of new transport infrastructure and upgrades to existing infrastructure.
  • Advising Storm Management on several onshore wind projects in the Walloon and Flemish region.
  • Advising Neo on the real estate, town planning, environmental, tax, and public procurement aspects of the reconstruction and redevelopment of the Heysel site.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL works with national and international corporate clients on environmental, urban planning, and zoning matters, with standout expertise in soil and groundwater contamination, waste and contaminants management, and telecoms infrastructure. The team is jointly led by Pascal Mallien, a specialist in compliance and permitting issues with great experience in litigation, both administrative and criminal, and Jean-François Vandenberghe, who advises on environmental concerns relating to cross-border M&A deals, alongside notable work on soil pollution. Mario Deketelaere takes the lead on zoning and planning work, alongside real estate transactions and development work.

Practice head(s):

Pascal Mallien; Jean-François Vandenberghe

Other key lawyers:

Mario Deketelaere

Testimonials

‘Well-founded advice.’

Key clients

Alvance Aluminium Duffel

Shipit

Iko

Gosselin Group

Recticel

Veolia SA

Octa+

Lukoil Belgium

Vopak

Aleris

Engie-Electrabel

Orange

Ideal Fibres & Fabrics

Van Ratingen

Work highlights

  • Advising Veolia on its bid participation in several major public procurement proceedings for national and international adjudicating authorities and for the award of multi-year service contracts in several jurisdictions.
  • Representing Orange in litigation involving Proximus SA, Orange Belgium and Irinest, against one of Orange’s former contractors, Fibreworx SPRL.
  • Representing ZGP Intermut and Consortium Callcenters in a claim before the Council of State to suspend the granted public procurement for COVID 19 tracing in the Flemish Region.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has particular strength in the urban planning and environmental space, acting for a number of cities and municipalities in litigation and advising on licensing of major developments, particularly brownfield, zoning, environmental approvals, and waste management. The team regularly engages with domestic and European authorities, and has played a role in legislative consultations at national and regional level. Practice head Bob Martens takes the lead on major projects and public law issues, while counsel Alec Van Vaerenbergh regularly advises governments and private sector clients on environmental issues relating to developments, particularly renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens

Other key lawyers:

Alec Van Vaerenbergh

Testimonials

‘Broad field of discipline, combined with well founded advice. Long term relationship makes the collaboration easy.’

Key clients

European Commission

Indaver

SUEZ

Sabic

bpost

Osar Architects

City of Antwerp

Sweco

Borealis Polymers NV

Mondelez International

Lillo Energy

Vlaamse Radio en Televisie (VRT)

RoTS

ARCADIS

Ghelamco

THV ROCO

VRT

Work highlights

  • Advised the City of Antwerp on a number of urban planning and development projects.
  • Advised Kinepolis on the development of the Heizel site, located north of Brussels.
  • Advised DEME on a series of complex legal actions initiated against the Port Authority of Antwerp.

Eubelius

Eubelius works with public and private sector clients on urban and environmental development issues including permits, zoning, and project development, alongside a notable litigation capability in the telecoms sector, with standout cases including issues relating to Belgium’s national and regional 5G networks. The practice is led by Barteld Schutyser, an experienced public law practitioner with a strong focus on PPPs and public procurement, alongside Bart Martel, who focuses on urban planning and environmental litigation.

Practice head(s):

Barteld Schutyser; Bart Martel

Other key lawyers:

Laura Janssens

Testimonials

‘The strength of the team is their ability to analyze files in depth in order to allow the client to make informed decisions. Eubelius as a firm is very pleasant to work with. People are professional.’

‘Bart Martel and Laura Janssens have a good critical sense. They listen to the client and have a very down to earth approach. They are easily reachable.’

Key clients

Uplace

Proximus

Albert Heijn Belgium

Pandox AB

City of Kortrijk

City of Mortsel

Work highlights

  • Advising Uplace on the construction and operation of a new large urban development project in Machelen.
  • Representing Proximus before the Market Court in proceedings relating to temporary permissions for the nation’s 5G network.
  • Advising Albert Heijn on permit issues and related environmental issues.

Lydian

Lydian handles a wide range of environmental law issues, including permits, waste, contaminated properties, zoning, and development, and has a particularly strong record in regulatory enforcement and litigation. Counsel Kyoto Van Herreweghe is praised for her ‘fantastic theoretical expertise‘ in urban planning and environmental issues.  Clients include a wide range of domestic and international businesses, alongside other law firms, with the practice a popular choice for international referrals. Wouter Neven sadly passed away in June 2022.

Other key lawyers:

Kyoto Van Herreweghe

Testimonials

‘Fast, efficient, and reliable’

‘The teamwork that Lydian’s team displayed was fascinating and each and every member was very easily accessible. Kyoto Van Herreweghe also stood out because she focused on the details and knew exactly what our requirements were.’

Kyoto Van Herreweghe is a rising star in environment. She is talented, assertive and quickly understands the deep aspects of the case. She has substantial experience assisting clients in environmental matters. She is great to work with, because she provides quick and objective answers, and is always available.

‘Kyoto Van Herreweghe: fantastic theoretical expertise.’

Key clients

Stora Enso NV

AIG Europe S.A. France

Cercle Brugge Koninklijke Sportvereniging

Pegatrim BV

Pegaland BV

Goodman Belgium NV

Plukon Food Group B.V.

Tereos Starch & Sweeteners Belgium NV

Sterling Group L.P.

DUAL Asset Underwriting Limited

Douglas Terminals HoldCo BV

Ghent Transport & Storage NV

Naxicap Partners – Paris

Norton Rose Fulbright LLP – Amsterdam/Paris/UK

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I

Hogan Lovells International – Birmingham

Visser & Smit Hanab

BNP Paribas Fortis

Axima NV (part of the Engie Group)

Baloise Belgium NV

EEW Energy from Waste GmbH

Baltissimmo NV

European Projects Investment Company NV

Real Estate and Leasing Company NV (“Reslea”)

Immobel NV

Accor Hotels Belgium NV

Campaign Monitor Europe UK Limited

Bell Food Group AG

Luther Rechtsanwalts – Hamburg

KBC Verzekeringen NV / KBC Group NV

Zurich Insurance Plc Netherlands branch

Vivalto Home Belgium SA

Bird & Bird LLP

Nutkao Holding s.r.l.

Belnima NV

GELF Arbo Logistics Belgium NV

Bruvaco NV

Bruvinvest NV

Building Group Jansen NV

Ceprm

Afrima NV

Coordinatie Organisatie Constructie NV

CWS-boco International GmbH

DCA NV

DeHeng Law Offices

Dentco BV

Divani NV

EDF Luminus NV

EDG België Holding NV

Eldorado NV

Eqin Holding BV

Flanders Real Estate Investment NV

Floren en Cie

Fourdem Comm. V.

Gemeente Wemmel

Gromabel NV

Huis van het GO!

IBP Water-Link OFP

Immo-Antares NV

Jan GeertsIresco NV

Itzu NV

LOM Oostende – Brugge

Mathieu Gijbels NV

MC Capital NV

Mediahuis NV

Mensura Gemeenschappelijke Verzekeringskas In Vereffening Ond. Verz. Mij

Oud Gasthuis Hasselt BVBA

Rumbold One NV

Sterhoek NV

Telim NV

Tervia’s NV / Vlinvesta NV

The Cube BVBA

THV Jansen Finishings – Aannemingen Jans

Van Benthem & Keulen

Venneshop BVBA

Vlaamse Overheid – MOW – Juridisch /Maritiem

Vlaamse Vervoersmaatschappij – De Lijn

Wacker Chemie AG

Water-link ov

Work highlights

  • Representing Stora Enso NV in one of the largest environmental litigation claims regarding legionella infections in Belgium.
  • Advising a real estate and leasing company on the development of a maritime campus.
  • Representing Airport Development Company Antwerp NV in highly mediatised criminal proceedings related to the so-called-extension of the runway with a Runway End Safety Area.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh has a strong record in environmental permitting, particularly relating to construction projects, and is also active in enforcement proceedings, both in administrative and criminal contexts. Other areas of strength for the firm include PPP and public procurement, and energy transition, with clients including energy producers, developers, and transport companies. The team is led by Jens Mosselmans, who combines advisory and litigation work in a range of public and administrative law cases relating to environmental issues, while counsel Maxime Vanderstraeten joined the firm from Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick in early 2021 and has deepened the firm’s reach in French-speaking regions of Belgium. Counsel Stef Feyen is noted for his work on public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Jens Mosselmans

Testimonials

‘Highly regarded practice with a very skilled team. Pragmatic and outcome-focused approach.’

‘Jens Mosselmans is a highly skilled lawyer, very responsive, down-to-earth, gives straightforward advice.’

Key clients

ENGIE

Gunvor Petroleum Antwerp

ENGIE

Belgian Shell

Umicore

Fluxys

Zenitel

Work highlights

  • Advising Engie Electrabel on the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism and on several investment dossiers.
  • Advising Umicore on strategising and finding an adequate response to the imposition of unprecedented environmental standards following a recent increase of lead concentration around the Umicore Hoboken plan.
  • Advising Gunvor Petroleum Antwerp on the restructuring of its refinery in Antwerp, including permit- and soil-related challenges.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP works with multinational clients across the automotive, manufacturing, and financial services sectors, advising on high-level environmental regulatory issues, including climate reporting and ESG obligations, trade and international operations matters in the context of environmental regulation, and energy transition. The team is led by Jacquelyn MacLennan, a specialist in ESG and climate change issues who advises on Belgian, EU, and global environmental regulations, including competition law implications. Genevra Forwood has broad expertise across public procurement, public contracts, and consumer protection, advising clients on regulatory compliance.

Practice head(s):

Jacquelyn MacLennan

Other key lawyers:

Genevra Forwood

Key clients

Daimler AG

DIC/Sun Chemical

Japan Machinery Center for Trade and Investment

First Solar

Hyundai Motor Company/Kia Motors Corporation

US Industrial Pellet Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Daimler on the consumption and emission performance of cars and vans, trucks and buses.
  • Advising DIC Corp. on environmental, health and safety, REACH and other regulatory requirements of its €1.15bn acquisition of BASF’s global pigments business.
  • Advising JMC on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and other sustainable trade policy and climate change regulations in the EU.

Adhemar Advocaten

Boutique firm Adhemar Advocaten advises public and private developers, public sector bodies, and contractors on environmental, public, and administrative law issues, including regulatory considerations for real estate development projects, environmental impact assessments, and litigation up to Council of State level in permit disputes. The firm is also regularly referred specialist environmental work by national and international law firms. The practice is headed up by environmental and urban planning specialist Joris De Pauw, real estate-focused Stefanie Debeuf and Durkadin Yilmaz, who has expertise in forestry projects and infrastructure developments.

Key clients

D+A Consult

ENVIR Advocaten

Tractebel Engineering

Rinkonien

Agency for Environment

Agency for Forest and Nature

Storm Windpower

Via Invest / De Werkvennootschap

City of Vilvoorde

City of Landen

City of Maaseik

City of Zonhoven

Belasco / BESIX Infra

BCT

DC Berkel Groep

Strelia

ASAP Avocats

Quorum Law

Idea Consult

Work highlights

  • Advised the city of Vilvoorde on several real estate development projects, including legal proceedings concerning permits and zoning regulation.
  • Advised the Agency for Forest and Nature on the preparation of new legislation on forest and nature protection.
  • Represented the Ministry for Environment in legal proceedings against the building permit for the Oosterweel-project in Antwerp.

Monard Law

Monard Law offers its clients significant public law and litigation expertise, regularly representing public sector bodies at Council of State level, alongside advising on environmental permits, waste management, soil pollution issues, and brownfield projects. The practice is led by Koen Geelen, who specialises in public sector work,  including representation in major environmental liability cases, alongside Wouter Moonen, who has a strong focus on public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Koen Geelen; Wouter Moonen

Testimonials

‘People orientated. Personal. Think along with the client.’

‘Personal approach.’

Key clients

Remo Milieubeheer (Group Machiels)

Ovam

Ostend-bruges Flanders International Airport

City Of Antwerp

Living Tomorrow

Primagaz

Re-vive

Weareone.world

Antwerp Flanders International Airport

Flemish Region

Work highlights

  • Advising Primagaz on the expansion of gas storage located in the industrial zone of Tessenderlo in order to obtain the necessary environmental permits.
  • Advising WeAreOneWorld on environmental permits for the Tomorrowland festival.
  • Advising Living Tomorrow on acquiring environmental permits for its innovation campus.

Publius

Publius advises companies and public authorities, including regional and national bodies, on environmental regulations, administrative permits, climate change considerations, and project development matters, alongside representing clients before courts and tribunals. The firm has key members operating across Belgium in all regions, with leaders in the team including Steve Ronse, Günther L’heureux, Dirk Van Heuven, Sofie Logie, Jan Beleyn and Meindert Gees.

Practice head(s):

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

Testimonials

‘Excellent respect of the deadlines. People are experts in the field.’

‘Very good knowledge of planning, environment.’

‘Günther L’Heureux is very accessible. He is practical and has a very good knowledge of the business. Thinks with the client and the business. Hands on advice. Very good follow up of the procedures and projects. Imaginative in complex projects.’

‘Publius has an in-depth technical knowledge of environmental and zoning matters.’

‘Wide range of expertise, with good personal contacts within the administration, and provide excellent advice.’

‘We mainly work with Jan Beleyn, who knows his stuff, is always quick on the ball and very helpful – not to mention his excellent sense of humor. We have been working for many years with Jan and his team, to our great satisfaction.’

Key clients

Flemish Government

Flemish Region

BC Foods

Protein House (Hawaiian Poke Bowl)

Colruyt

City of Kortrijk

City of Aalst

City of Diksmuide

Municipality of Knokke Heist

Ethias Insurance company

Work highlights

  • Representing the Flemish Government in Belgium’s first actual climate case in which a Belgian non-profit organisation, together with over 60,000 plaintiffs, sued the four Belgian Governments and requested the civil court of Brussels to impose strict and binding emission standards together with an obligation to take more effective measures regarding climate policy.
  • Advising Hawaiian Poke Bowl on its a plans to open 50 restaurants in Belgium and abroad.
  • Advising Elia on operational and regulatory issues.

PwC Legal

PwC Legal advises domestic and foreign companies on strategic town planning, environmental permits, and procurement, also representing clients in associated litigation. Alongside its work for private sector clients, the firm also has an active public sector offering, advising municipalities, cities and public companies on the full range of environmental regulatory matters. The practice is led by Els Empereur, who has expertise in real estate, administrative, and public law, with a strong focus on environment and planning issues.

Practice head(s):

Els Empereur

Testimonials

We have worked very well with Els Empereur and her team. She is very strong when it comes to everything related to the environment.’

‘Els Empereur is very well versed in soil-related matters.

PwC Legal has proven to be a very knowledgeable legal team, that assisted us on more than one occasion in legal matters, mostly pertaining to environmental subjects.

Els Empereur is a real expert in environmental matters and is assisted by a team that knows the stuff very well!

Seeds of Law

Seeds of Law offers expertise in environmental permitting and public real estate law across the three regions of Belgium, advising on urban planning, PPP, and hazardous materials permits, environmental due diligence for real estate transactions, and additionally representing clients in disputes before Belgian courts. Clients include developers and real estate portfolio holders. Koen De Puydt leads the team, specialising in public law and real estate issues.

Practice head(s):

Koen De Puydt

Key clients

GREENLEAF NV

IMMO SEAGULL NV/PGJCL Immo

Willemen Real Estate

XPO Supply Chain Chemicals

Sandaya

C.E.T.T. P. Monseu

Work highlights

  • Advising Greenleaf NV on the environmental, urbanistic and planning issues (amongst several others) concerning a redevelopment of an industrial area into a residential real estate project.
  • Assisting C.E.T.T. in the administrative procedure and preparation of a new demand for a new environmental permit in conjunction with the collection and sorting of non-hazardous waste.
  • Successfully represented XPO Supply Chains Chemicals BELGIUM against administrative sanctions in conjunction with a chemical incident on the XPO Chemicals site, which led to the intervention of the fire brigade.