This is what the Environment and Planning Act means for your business
- KVK Redactie
- 9 March 2023
- Edited 10 January 2024
- 2 min
- Rules and laws
Do you want to renovate a business location in the Netherlands? Or apply for an environmental permit? From 2024, you must follow the rules set out in the new Environment and Planning Act. This is called the 'Omgevingswet' in Dutch. You use the 'Omgevingsloket', an online service counter, to arrange the permits you need.
The Environment and Planning applies to all changes residents and businesses want to make in their surroundings. Examples can include activities like installing dormer windows, building a tower block, renovating a windmill, or opening a new shop.
The new Environment and Planning Act aims to simplify procedures. 26 laws are merged into 1. The new online service counter becomes a central point for answering questions and submitting applications. The Dutch government hopes this will make things simpler and faster for applicants.
Until 2024, there were several counters issuing permits. Now you can go to 1 place. For entrepreneurs familiar with pre-2024 processes, the Omgevingsloket replaces the Omgevingsloket Online (OLO), the Activities Decree Internet Module (AIM), Meldpunt Bodemkwaliteit, and Ruimtelijkeplannen.nl.
You can check which rules and agreements apply to your project at the online service counter. You can also submit permit applications there.
What you need to apply for a permit is not the same everywhere in the Netherlands. Every municipality has its own Environment Decree (Omgevingsbesluit) from 2024. This contains all the rules and agreements in the municipality regarding construction, renovation, the environment, and felling trees.
Previously, these rules and agreements were set out in the zoning plan and various ordinances. The information from these Environment Decrees can now be found at the Omgevingsloket.
For example, in addition to the Environment Decree, you can also find the Environment Activities (Besluit activiteiten leefomgeving), and other regulations from the water board and province. As a business owner, you are required to check these plans to see which environmental regulations apply.
Do you have a plan? Check the Omgevingsloket to find out which rules you must comply with. Do this as soon as possible. Then you can avoid surprises, such as a delay, rejection, or a fine.
The Omgevingsloket has a Vergunningcheck tool (‘Permit Check’). It allows you to check if you need 1 or more permits for your plan. Remember that some activities must be reported to the government in advance, even if they do not require a permit. You can find this out using the permit check.
Sometimes the municipality will state that participatie or participation is required. This means that before you apply, you must contact people in the neighbourhood who will be affected by your project. Talk to people who live nearby, or other businesses in the area. When you apply, you have to show that you have participated and what the outcome is.
Even if participation is not officially required, you can coordinate plans with other parties that are involved. It is then less likely that they will object to your permit application at a later moment. After all, they have 6 weeks to object after the provisional approval of your permit is granted.
The new Environment and Planning Act applies to all applications from 1 January 2024. If you had an approved permit before that date, it automatically remains valid under the new regulations. You only need to apply for a new permit if you are expanding or changing your activities. For example, if you are going to build or renovate more than was originally planned.
You also do not have to resubmit applications that were in progress before 2024. For these, the rules and processes of 2023 still apply.