The Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet) embodies several acts. It is set up to make it easier to test building projects on all necessary aspects. The new Act consists of 26 existing acts around built environment, housing, infrastructure, environment, nature and water (formerly Environmental Permitting Act or Omgevingsrecht). The advantages are:
- faster and cheaper decision-making
- better solutions to social challenges
- more transparent decision-making for initiators and beneficiaries
- simplification of the rules. The Act follows European directives on the environment, unnecessary legislation has been scrapped
- more flexibility and a better fit to the actual situation
The Environment and Planning Act is made up of 26 existing laws and will incorporate these fully or partly. Examples are the Water Act, the Crisis and Recovery Act, and the Spatial Planning Act. The laws on ammonia and odour emissions in livestock farming, will no longer exist.
Decree on construction works in the living environment (Bbl)
With the Environment and Planning Act the current Building decree 2012 (Bouwbesluit 2012) will expire. Technical requirements will be included in the Decree on construction works in the living environment (Besluit bouwwerken leefomgeving, Bbl, in Dutch).
Structure of the legislation
The Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet, Ow, in Dutch) embodies several acts. It is the basis for the environmental legislation. It describes the frameworks, principles and outlines of this legislation.
These frameworks, principles and outlines are detailed and elaborated in 4 general administrative regulations:
- Environmental decree (Omgevingsbesluit, Ob, in Dutch)
- Decree on construction works in the living environment (Bbl, in Dutch)
- Decree on quality of the living environment (Besluit kwaliteit leefomgeving, Bkl, in Dutch)
- Decree on activities in the living environment (Besluit activiteiten leefomgeving, Bal, in Dutch)
Then there is also the Environmental regulation (Omgevingsregeling, Or, in Dutch). This is a ministerial decree with more technical implementation requirements.
Applying for a permit
It will be easier to apply for a permit through the new Environment and Planning Act: there will be one 1 service point for all applications and decisions. The application time will be reduced from 26 to 8 weeks.
Companies should always carry out research before they can apply for a permit to start a building or spatial planning project. Under the new Act, these research data will be valid for longer and some research will not have to be conducted at all anymore.
Compensation of loss
A new scheme to compensate any damages suffered as a result of government policy will be introduced. This scheme decides if damages have to be paid. This is an addition to the General Administrative Law Act (Algemene wet bestuursrecht, Awb). The outcome of a compensation decision according to the Environmental Act will weigh heavier than the one from the Awb. For any other laws that included a compensation scheme and that have been absorbed by the new Act, the new compensation scheme will also prevail.
From the moment the Environment and Planning Act enters into fore, all municipalities should be connected to the digital system for this act (Digitaal Stelsel Omgevingswet, DSO). DSO will be a one-stop shop to apply for permits, consult the applicable rules for a specific location and at a later stage access information on the quality of the physical environment. Once the Act has come into force, in many cases it should be possible to issue a permit within 8 weeks of application.
- all companies
The Environment and Planning Act is expected to come into force on 1 July 2023.
Please note: The effective date of this measure is not yet final. Entry into force is subject to its passing through the upper and lower houses of parliament or proclamation of the Order in Council (Algemene Maatregel van Bestuur, AMvB) or ministerial decree and publication in the Staatsblad or Staatscourant (Government Gazette, in Dutch).