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In the Netherlands, you may have to draw up an environmental impact assesment (milieueffectrapport, MER) if you apply for an environmental permit or for a permit regarding dispensation from or amendments to a zoning plan. Both permits are part of the All-in-one permit for physical aspects (omgevingsvergunning). An MER states the possible positive or negative impact a proposed project may have.
In the MER you compare the environmental consequences of your project with possible alternatives. Whether you will have to draw up a MER depends on your activities and how harmful they may be for the environment.
MER duty or MER evaluation duty
In some cases, a MER is mandatory. In other cases, the municipality or province decides whether a MER is required (evaluation duty). Activities for which an MER duty or evaluation duty is required, are listed in the annex to the Environmental Impact Assessment Decree (Besluit milieueffectrapportage). You can find out if you have an MER duty or MER evaluation duty through the (Dutch-language) MER-scan.
If the competent provincial authority has compelled decided you need to draw up an MER, you may nonetheless be eligible for an exemption. For this, please contact the provincial authority.
Environmental impact assessment manual and guide
You will find a MER manual and MER guide on the Dutch knowledge centre InfoMil's website. The manual includes an overview of legal requirements with explanatory notes, while the guide provides you with tips and examples. Please note, this information is only available in Dutch. Contact your municipality or province for any questions you may have regarding the MER.
Online application procedure via Message Box
In the province of Noord-Brabant you can use Message Box to apply digitally for an exemption on drawing up a MER. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.