THE EUROPEAN Commission has taken an important step towards giving EU water legislation more teeth, by moving against Belgium's system of "tacit approvals" of pollution. Belgian law allows companies to assume that they have a right to pollute if they make an application to regulators and then receive no reply. The Commission maintains that under legislation including the Groundwater Directive, (which requires prior authorisation of the discharging of dangerous substances), active approvals are required before companies can act. This position ...

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