What the Environment and Planning Act means for businesses

The Environment and Planning Act came into effect on 1 January 2024. In principle, businesses do not have to take any action if there is no change in how they operate. All environmental permits remain valid and notifications do not have to be resubmitted. Businesses whose operations will change must go to the new Environment and Planning Portal to see whether they need to submit a permit application or notification. 

Notifications and permits before and after 1 January 2024

Municipalities will process permit applications submitted before 1 January 2024 the old way. 

After 1 January 2024, businesses that want to carry out a new activity, such as renovation or building work, must go to the new Environment and Planning Portal (Omgevingsloket) where they will find everything they need to know about the physical environment. This includes the rules and regulations of the municipal, provincial and water authorities as well as of central government. The new Environment and Planning Portal replaces existing websites for permit applications (Online Omgevingsloket, OLO) and notifications (Activiteitenbesluit Internet Module, AIM Online).

Check environmental rules and planning permission on the Environment and Planning Portal

The Physical Environment (Activities) Decree (BAL) contains rules for businesses relating to the environment. It replaces the Environmental Management (General Rules for Establishments) Decree. Businesses can find out which rules apply and whether they need planning permission on the Environment and Planning Portal. 

Other changes affecting businesses

  • Each municipality draws up one environment and land-use plan covering its entire area and incorporating all the existing land-use plans.
  • Another new act that entered into force on 1 January 2024 is the Quality Assurance (Buildings) Act (Wet kwaliteitsborging voor het bouwen, WKB). It aims to improve the quality of new buildings and tightens inspections during construction. Companies should therefore check on the Environment and Planning Portal whether their project falls under the WKB.
  • Businesses can give their views on spatial plans. Public authorities must carry out a public participation procedure when drafting
    • environment and planning strategies
    • environment and land-use plans
    • programmes
    • project procedure plans
    • environment and land-use ordinances
    • water ordinances. 

Businesses can involve other parties in their plans, but this is not usually mandatory. In exceptional cases the municipal council can decide that public participation is required for activities that are not covered by the environment and land-use plan and for which the business in question needs a permit. 

More information

Businesses that have questions about the Environment and Planning Act can contact the municipality, the water authority or province. They can also find more information about what the Environment and Planning Act means for businesses on business.gov.nl.