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The Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet): what does it mean for you?

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

In the Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet, Ow), 26 laws come together in 1 new law. This makes it easier to apply for permits for your company. For example, for a construction project. The Environment and Planning Act came into effect on 1 January 2024. You can now use the online service counter to check if you need a permit for your plans.

What is the Environment and Planning Act?

The Environment and Planning Act is a new law for spatial development. It replaces twenty-six existing laws (in Dutch). Such as the Spatial Planning Act (Wet ruimtelijke ordening), the Crisis and Recovery Act (Crisis- en herstelwet), and the Soil Protection Act (Wet Bodembescherming).

You have to comply with the Environment and Planning Act if you want to change something in the 'physical environment'. For example, if you want to start a construction project. Or if you want to convert the garage into business space. Or if you want to start a museum with café in an old mill.

Permits granted before the new law came into effect remain valid.

Apply for permits in 1 place

The Environment and Planning Act makes it easier and faster to apply for permits. You submit 1 application at 1 counter and you receive 1 decision. And in most cases, your application will be processed faster: in 8 weeks instead of 26 weeks.

For some projects, an 'extensive procedure' applies. For example, if you want to renovate a national monument. You will then receive a decision within 6 months.

Online service counter: Omgevingsloket

You can check if you need a permit in the (Dutch only) Omgevingsloket: the online service counter where you can apply for an environment and planning permit (Omgevingsvergunning) in the Netherlands. In this online service counter you can:

  • look up the rules per location
  • check whether you need a permit or whether you need to make a notification
  • apply for permits or make reports
  • look up information about the quality of the living environment (this possibility will be added to the counter later)

Do your own research for your application

If you want to apply for a permit, your company needs to conduct its own research. Possibly, your project or idea has an impact on local residents or other companies in the vicinity. In that case, you must contact these people. Ask them what they think of your plan. When applying for a permit, you enclose their answers. That is called participation.

The application for the permit is often easier if participation has been applied. Sometimes participation is even mandatory. Read more about the application procedure (in Dutch) on the KVK website.

Compensation scheme

Is your company disadvantaged by the Environment and Planning Act? For example, because you have to incur extra costs for your construction project due to a rule in the law or a permit. You can receive compensation, called disadvantage compensation. The Environment and Planning Act includes a regulation that states when the government must compensate for damage that was caused as a result of a government decision.

Read more about disadvantage compensation on iplo.nl (in Dutch).

Read the Environment and Planning Act

Would you like to read what the Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet) says about your situation? The most important rules in the Act have been elaborated in 4 decrees. You can find information about these decrees in English on the IPLO website. Or you can view the decrees in Dutch:

  1. Environment decree (Omgevingsbesluit)
  2. Environment Buildings Decree (Besluit bouwwerken leefomgeving)
  3. Environmental Quality Decree (Besluit kwaliteit leefomgeving)
  4. Environmental Activities Decree (Besluit activiteiten leefomgeving)

Finally, there is the Environmental regulation (Omgevingsregeling, Or, in Dutch). This describes how the laws must be implemented.

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