Protected Areas, Permits, Administrative

This case concerned the application of the precautionary principle for the construction of a waste disposal site. The applicants requested the suspension  of a building permit for a container yard in the framework of interim administrative proceeding.

Plaintiffs claimed that the construction of a container yard would result in serious loss which is difficult to make good. This loss would consist of the impact of the container yard on their quality of life. The container yard would alors bring noises, unpleasant odours, nuisances, disfigurement of the landscape and pollution.

The Conseil d'Etat judged that a risk of an impact on health or environment, even if it is uncertain but plausible, constitutes a serious loss that is hard to make good because it touches fundamental rights. In this case, the mere existence of a container yard threatened to disrupt seriously the applicants' quality of life. It will more specifically undermine the resident character of the area. In addition, the container yard was closed to a protected area.

Consequently, the judge decided the suspension of the building permit.