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Document 62009CJ0128

Summary of the Judgment

Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 18 October 2011.
Antoine Boxus and Willy Roua (C-128/09), Guido Durlet and Others (C-129/09), Paul Fastrez and Henriette Fastrez (C-130/09), Philippe Daras (C-131/09), Association des riverains et habitants des communes proches de l’aéroport BSCA (Brussels South Charleroi Airport) (ARACh) (C-134/09 and C-135/09), Bernard Page (C-134/09) and Léon L’Hoir and Nadine Dartois (C-135/09) v Région wallonne.
References for a preliminary ruling: Conseil d'État - Belgium.
Assessment of the effects of projects on the environment - Directive 85/337/EEC - Scope - Concept of ‘specific act of national legislation’ - Aarhus Convention - Access to justice in environmental matters - Extent of the right to a review procedure in respect of a legislative act.
Joined cases C-128/09 to C-131/09, C-134/09 and C-135/09.

Keywords
Summary

Keywords

1. Environment – Assessment of the effects of certain projects on the environment – Directive 85/337 – Ambit – Project adopted by a national legislative act – Not included – Conditions

(Council Directive 85/337 as amended by Directive 2003/35, Art. 1(5))

2. Environment – Assessment of the effects of certain projects on the environment – Directive 85/337 – Project adopted by a national legislative act falling within the ambit of the directive – Right to a review procedure in respect of that act – Scope

(Council Directive 85/337, as amended by Directive 2003/35, Art. 10a; Council Decision 2005/370)

Summary

1. Article 1(5) of Directive 85/337 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Directive 2003/35, must be interpreted as meaning that only projects the details of which have been adopted by a specific legislative act, in such a way that the objectives of that directive have been achieved by the legislative process, are excluded from the ambit of the directive. It is for the national court to verify that those two conditions are satisfied, taking account both of the content of the legislative act adopted and of the entire legislative process which led to its adoption, in particular the preparatory documents and parliamentary debates. In that regard, a legislative act which does no more than simply ratify a pre-existing administrative act, by merely referring to overriding reasons relating to the general interest without a substantive legislative process enabling those conditions to be fulfilled having first been opened, cannot be regarded as a specific legislative act for the purposes of that provision and is therefore not sufficient to exclude a project from the ambit of Directive 85/337, as amended.

(see para. 48, operative part 1)

2. Article 9(2) of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters, approved on behalf of the European Community by Decision 2005/370, and Article 10a of Directive 85/337 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Directive 2003/35, must be interpreted as meaning that:

- when a project falling within the ambit of those provisions is adopted by a legislative act, it must be possible for the question whether that legislative act satisfies the conditions laid down in Article 1(5) of that directive to be submitted, under the national procedural rules, to a court of law or an independent and impartial body established by law;

- if no review procedure of the nature and scope set out above were available in respect of such an act, any national court before which an action falling within its jurisdiction is brought would have the task of carrying out the review described in the previous indent and, as the case may be, drawing the necessary conclusions by disapplying that legislative act.

(see para. 57, operative part 2)

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