Expertises Sectors


Quality of life (urban development and the environment)

Our surroundings, the place where we live, is very much shaped by town and country planning. Furthermore, what the neighbourhoods and city districts of the future will look like and how the streetscape will evolve depends on planning and permits.

The process begins with the administration sketching out its vision in a zoning plan, which includes a number of objectives and guidelines based on policy plans. This vision is then fleshed out in the urban planning regulations of spatial implementation plans (SIPs).

There are various rules and procedures governing the preparation and content of these official plans, and these are supplemented by the jurisprudence of the Council of State. Thanks to their experience with these procedures, GSJ’s legal teams are familiar with all the pitfalls in this area.

Based on these planning instruments, a framework is created for the development of a project and the necessary permits can be issued. Once again, this process has its particular rules and procedures, which are supplemented by the jurisprudence of the Council for Permit Disputes. Needless to say, these regulations are constantly changing, and with the recent introduction of the environmental permit, legal assistance is not by any means a luxury.

Thanks to our daily experience in this field, we have developed a strategic approach to application dossiers, and we apply this preferably from the very start of the process. As the old saying goes, a good start is half the battle.

Urban development and the environment

The environment is an important factor that must be taken into account in many areas of life. At GSJ, our teams have the experience and know-how to give you advice and assistance with many important decisions. We can help you avoid environmental pitfalls in situations such as purchasing a contaminated plot of land, applying for an environmental permit to operate a potentially polluting installation, removing and transporting waste, locating or laying all kinds of utilities, pipelines and cables, and the list goes on. Of course, each of these situations involves specific rules and regulations, which of course does not make things any easier.

Urban development projects can also be approached from various angles. For example, will the project involve work that requires a permit, exemptions or notifications? Are the existing constructions inside or outside the environmental zone? What urban development regulations and situations should be taken into account?

GSJ advocaten has been monitoring developments in this area for several years, and because we are often called upon to work with government agencies, our teams have acquired comprehensive knowledge and expertise in this area and can offer you a wealth of practical advice and guidance. You can count on GSJ.


The assessment of a permit application can depend on many different elements: urban planning regulations, the existing situation in the district, the existence of heritage sites, future visions, the possibility of expropriations, sectoral rules and regulations affecting various factors (such as water, forests, accessibility, etc.).

Procedural aspects can also prevent the granting of a permit, in particular when it comes to consultancy, the different procedures for the granting of permits within the context of the Environmental Decree, administrative appeals and appeals before the Council for Permit Disputes.

The rules set out in the Environmental Decree form the basis for the procedures: administrative appeals, hearings, expropriations, etc. There are not many ways in which permit decisions can be challenged, irrespective of the decision taken. Nevertheless, comprehensive knowledge of the procedural rules is the key to successful applications.

Over the last 20 years GSJ advocaten has acquired tremendous expertise in this area. You can count on us.

This expertise falls within the team

22 team members

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GSJ can be reached by telephone from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 6 pm.

GSJ advocaten
Borsbeeksebrug 36
2600 Antwerp

Tel.: +32 (0)3 232 50 60
Fax: +32 (0)3 232 30 50
Enterprise number: 0442.485.591


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