Your business and the environment

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Every company has to deal with environmental regulations. There are rules for the noise level of your company, for the processing of waste, and for the use and generation of energy. In addition, there are also rules to ensure that soil, air, and water are not polluted. That means that sometimes you will have to take measures to comply with the rules, such as laying a liquid-tight floor, applying sound-insulating measures, or separating different types of waste.

General environmental rules

Most entrepreneurs hardly burden the environment. They adhere to the general environmental rules from the Activities Decree (Besluit activiteiten leefomgeving or Bal in Dutch). Your business activities determine to which category your company belongs and which rules you must adhere to. Use the Maatregelen op maat (taking the right measures, in Dutch) section on the online service counter Omgevingsloket to find out.

Municipal rules

There may also be environmental rules in the municipal environment plan (omgevingsplan), for example on noise and odours. The environment plan contains all the rules that apply to one location. Do you want to build something, start a company, or change an existing building? Before you start, check the rules in the environment plan. You can do so on the Omgevingsloket website, section Regels op de kaart (rules on the map, in Dutch). The Omgevingsloket permit check also helps you find out if what you want to do is permitted, or if you need to apply for an environment and planning permit (omgevingsvergunning).

Provincial rules

Each province has its own environmental decree (milieuverordening). In it, you find the provincial rules on heritage sites, nature, and the provincial infrastructure. Provinces can also use this to include environmental rules. You can find the provincial decrees using the Regels op de kaart section of the Omgevingsloket.

What should you pay attention to?

The following matters are related to (environmental) legislation:

  • A company may not produce too much noise. As an entrepreneur, you must prevent noise pollution.
  • A company may not produce too much odour nuisance. You must prevent bothersome smells coming into the environment from your company.
  • Special rules apply to company waste. These relate to the separation, collection, and registration of waste.
  • You are obliged to keep the environment around your business premises clean. This applies to waste that comes from your company, within a radius of 25 metres.
  • As a producer or importer, do you market packaged products and packaging in the Netherlands? Then you are responsible for the management of the packaging up to and including the waste phase.
  • Sewer discharging. Waste water rules can be found in the Activities decree (in Dutch) or in the environment plan. This is particularly important for hospitality businesses and food producers, who may discharge fats into the waste water. A fat separator may be needed.
  • Rules for soil protection (in Dutch) may also apply. The Bal contains protective measures for activities that may pollute the soil.

Sustainable business operations

Sustainable business operations are connected with the environment. Do you run your business sustainably or do you have plans to do so? There are various subsidies available for energy and the environment.

Nature regulations

Is your company located near a nature reserve? The regulations in the field of nature protection and the protection of animal species outside nature areas (bats, for example) are important for your business location. The rules that apply can affect your activities and vice versa. If your business activities might affect the nature reserve, you need a nature conservation permit. The Natura 2000 areas are an example of protected nature areas, for which you likely need a nature conservation permit.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK