Managing polluted soil will be the focus of a new cooperation endeavour between the Brussels-Capital Region and Québec. On March 4, Christos Sirros, the Québec Delegate General in Brussels, Guy Vanhengel, the Minister of External Relations, and Evelyne Huytebroeck, Minister of the Environment for the Brussels-Capital Region, signed a cooperation program for the remediation of contaminated soils.
The program fosters the exchange of experience, best practices and information between Brussels-Capital and Québec with an eye to finding sustainable solutions for managing polluted soils. Exchanges will cover a broad range of areas: measures for preventing soil pollution, drawing up an inventory of polluted sites, assessing risks linked to polluted soils, developing remediation techniques, re-use of contaminated lands, and funding contamination cleanup operations.
Each partner will organize an exchange on an alternating basis that will include meetings of experts, touring sites that show the remediation techniques under study and sharing assistance and expertise. The first exchange is slated for this month in Québec. The Brussels-Capital Region is sending three experts from Brussels Environment to the Americana trade show in Montréal that will run from March 16 to 19.
Québec expertise in the remediation of contaminated sites is well recognized and is constantly being enhanced through know-how developed by other governments concerned about the sustainable development of their territories. The cooperation program with Brussels-Capital will contribute to the promotion and advancement of this expertise. An example is the Climatsol project currently in force in Québec, which directly inspired the Greenfields project in Brussels.
Within the Québec government, the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs and the Ministère des Relations internationales have been mandated to implement the cooperation program. The Brussels-Capital Region has assigned this responsibility to Brussels Environment and the External Relations Department of the Brussels-Capital Region (RELEX).
Exchanges will take place every six months for the first two years of the program, which may be renewed after its assessment at the end of 2010.