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Urban associations call for Metro 3 public inquiry to be extended

The stations planned for the North-South Metro 3 in Brussels (Image: Paul McNally/The Bulletin)
06:09 18/03/2022

‎ARAU, the Urban ‎‎Research and Action Group, and Inter-Environnement Bruxelles (IEB), the federation of neighbourhood committees and environmental associations in the Brussels Region, have called for the extension of the public inquiry on the North-South Metro 3 line.

They asked that the public inquiry into the permit application for the northern part of the project, which includes a tunnel, seven stations, and a depot, be extended until September. At the moment, the closing date is April 5.

"Analysing the documents submitted for public consultation and formulating an opinion in 30 days is simply impossible within this period, given the technicality but especially the enormity of the file,” the two associations said in a joint statement. “There are thousands of pages to read, including 6,267 pages just for the impact study and more than 300 plans to examine."

The two associations said that, considering the complexity of the application, calling the project one of ‘citizen participation’ is a “sham”.

By way of comparison, the draft Regional Mobility Plan "Good Move" had been given four months for a public inquiry, with “only" 939 pages to review, while the Midi territorial development plan had also been the subject of an extended public inquiry, four months instead of the planned two months, for 1,889 pages.

Finally, they stressed that the regional government had committed, in its majority agreement, to organise a consultation and a much wider participation, for projects such as the metro. "The extension of the public inquiry period that we are asking for should therefore make it possible to carry out the ‘technical’ analysis of the file correctly but also to allow the organisation of this consultation and participation,” the associations concluded in their statement. “This will have to focus on the increasingly relevant financial difficulties and changes in mobility that are looming."

Written by Nick Amies