Blog 27/12/2023

One law that regulates everything

One law that regulates everything for the environment? That's the idea of the new environmental law. This new law bundles rules. Using one digital counter. To make it easier to start spatial projects.

Why a new environmental law?

To live and work pleasantly in the Netherlands, there are many rules that determine how our living environment may or may not look. These rules are about nature, environment, traffic and housing, for example. Currently, there are so many rules that it is difficult to start new projects. Especially if you do not deal with environmental laws and permits on a daily basis. The Environment Act should change this.

In this way, the government wants to make it easier to start initiatives. For example, the construction of a city park. Or a citizens' initiative to build a sustainable energy system.

Laws bundled together

Source: central government, Environment Act

What does this mean?

The law has a number of goals. For example, there should be more consistency in the approach to the living environment. In this way more local customization is possible. And the law should ensure faster and better decision-making. In practice, this looks as follows:

Which provides: fewer rules, more coherence and more overview between cooperating parties. Such as municipalities, provinces and water boards.

Here you will find in one place: all rules of municipalities, provinces and water boards, all plans for areas and all rules belonging to a location or area.

This means that: you only need one permit for a plan. Even if more governments are involved. And that decisions are made faster. Within eight weeks of an application, a permit will be granted or your plan will be rejected. Instead of the current 26 weeks.

So that: there are more opportunities for citizens or businesses to implement a plan. And so that it is easier to take initiative.

Participation remains important

For new plans, it remains the case that participation must have taken place. This means that you must ensure that interested parties have been able to actively participate in the plans for a project. This is mandatory for anyone starting a project in the living environment: as a company, citizen and government.

The participation process is part of a permit application. The Environment Act lays down the requirements for such a process. The process and its results are included in the final decision on whether or not to grant a permit.

When is it successful?

This new Environment Act will apply from January 1, 2024. An independent commission will investigate whether the Environment Act works in practice and whether the goals set are achieved. This evaluation will take five years.

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