Appeal procedure for an environmental permit

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Has an administrative body (government organisation) granted or rejected an environmental permit and dismissed your objection to that decision? Or has an environmental permit been granted, and do you think that the administrative body did not consider your objection to the draft permit carefully enough? After the administrative body makes its decision, you have 6 weeks to appeal that decision to the court.

The environmental permit appeal procedure is a procedure in administrative law. You do not have to have a lawyer.

Appeal procedure for an environmental permit

 When you appeal against a decision about an environmental permit, you follow these steps:

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  • If you want to appeal against a decision by a government organisation, the court must hear that you want to appeal no later than 6 weeks after the date on the letter about the decision. You send the court a ‘notice of appeal’ (beroepschrift) to say that you want to appeal. You can submit this notice online, or you can write the notice on paper and either post it or hand it in at the courthouse.

    Submitting a notice online

    You can submit your notice of appeal online using the Notice of Appeal form (in Dutch: beroepschriftformulier). You must have a DigiD to do this.

    Posting or handing in your own notice

    You can write your own notice of appeal. Make sure you include:

    • the date when you write the notice
    • your name and address
    • the decision that you are appealing
    • why you do not agree with the rejection of your objection, or why you think that your zienswijze (your letter saying what you think about the intention to grant or reject an environmental permit) was not considered carefully enough
    • what you think the decision should be
    • your signature

    Include the documents that are important to the court. You must send:

    • the decision about the notice of objection that you are appealing, or
    • the environmental permit and your zienswijze letter
    • any documents and photographs that support your point of view

    Send the notice of appeal and the other documents to the courthouse, or give them to the employees at the courthouse’s central desk.

    The court informs the parties

    When the court receives your notice of appeal and the other documents, the court tells the people involved that you have submitted an appeal and how they can respond to your appeal:

    • the government organisation can send the court a verweerschrift (a response to your notice of appeal), including all the documents about the application and the objection procedure
    • if the decision to grant or reject the environmental permit will directly affect people, these people can tell the court what they think. The court can include their opinions in the appeal decision. For example, one of these people may be a neighbour of the person who is appealing against a decision to reject an environmental permit.
  • The court sends you copies of the administrative body’s response (verweerschrift) and copies of the documents about the application and the objection procedure for the environmental permit.
  • You can submit extra documents online (in Dutch) until 10 days before the hearing. This gives the judge and other people who are affected by the appeal enough time to read the documents. For example, you can write your reaction to the verweerschrift response. If you send extra documents later than 10 days before the hearing, the judge may decide not to include those documents in the decision about the appeal.

    If the decision about the environmental permit affects other people, these people can also submit documents.

  • There is usually a hearing for an environmental permit appeal. The hearing often happens within 3 months after the court receives the notice of appeal.

    Who is invited to the hearing?

    The court invites all the ‘parties’ (the people who are involved in the appeal) to go to the hearing. The invitation says when and where the hearing will happen, and it explains how to submit new documents and how to register witnesses and/or experts. The parties are:

    • the government organisation that received the application for the environmental permit, or the organisation that granted or rejected the environmental permit
    • the person who applied for the environmental permit
    • any other people who have appealed the decision (people who will be directly affected by the decision to grant or reject the environmental permit, for example a neighbour)
    • The parties do not have to go to the hearing.

    The parties do not have to go to the hearing.

    Can you bring witnesses or experts to the hearing?

    You can bring one or more witnesses and/or experts to the hearing. If you want to do this, you must tell the court in writing no later than 10 days before the date of the hearing. Your letter must include the name of each witness or expert and the town or city where they live. The witnesses or experts can ask you to pay for all or some of their travel costs, their accommodation costs and the time they spend working on the appeal. The judge does not have to hear any witnesses or experts.

    Who will be in the courtroom?

    As well as the parties, the general public can also go to the hearing. Hearings in an appeal procedure about an environmental permit are usually open to the public. In some cases, the judge can decide that some or all of the hearing will be held behind closed doors.

    What happens during the hearing?

    During the hearing, all the parties can say what they think, respond to what the other parties say and answer the judge’s questions. The judge may ask the parties if they need an extra hearing.

    If there is no extra hearing, the judge then says when he or she will publish the ruling. The judge usually makes a decision about the environmental permit appeal within 6 weeks after the hearing. If the judge needs more time, he or she will tell you this.

    Mediation in addition to legal proceedings

    You can also choose to have mediation in addition to legal proceedings. A mediator is someone who helps you to work with the other parties to solve the conflict about the environmental permit. The judge also checks to see if mediation would be a good choice in your case.

    What is an interim decision?

    The judge can make an interim decision if he or she finds a problem with the decision to grant or reject the environmental permit, for example if the decision was not made as carefully as it should have been. The government organisation is then given a specific amount of time to solve the problem. The judge decides if the organisation has done this, and then he or she makes a ruling.

    What is a simplified procedure?

    The judge can also choose to hear the appeal in a simplified procedure. In that case, the judge closes the appeal and there is no hearing, for example because:

    • the administrative court does not have the right authorisation. The decision says that ‘the administrative court manifestly lacks jurisdiction’ (in Dutch: ‘de bestuursrechter is kennelijk onbevoegd’);
    • the documents clearly show that the administrative body was right to grant or reject the environmental permit. The decision says that ‘the appeal is manifestly well-founded or manifestly unfounded’ (in Dutch: ‘het beroep is kennelijk gegrond of kennelijk ongegrond’);
    • the notice of appeal was submitted too late. The decision says that ‘the appeal is therefore manifestly inadmissible’ (in Dutch: ‘het beroep is dan kennelijk niet-ontvankelijk’).
  • The court sends the judge’s decision to all the parties and to your lawyer, if you have one. The judge can make various different decisions:


    The judge agrees with you (the appeal is well-founded). The judge can:

    • tell the government organisation to look at the objection again and to make a new decision. If you do not agree with this new decision, you can make another objection and, if necessary, start another appeal procedure;
    • dismiss the government organisation’s decision, but decide that the legal effects of the decision will stay in place. This means that the government organisation does not need to make a new decision. For example, if a permit was granted for construction, the construction can continue;
    • decide that his or her decision replaces the original decision.


    If an environmental permit was wrongly granted or rejected, and if you have suffered because of that decision, you can ask for compensation.


    The judge does not agree with you. The government organisation’s decision stays in place.

  • If you do not agree with the judge’s decision about an appeal against an environmental permit, you can appeal to the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State (Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State) within 6 weeks. The administrative body can also appeal against the decision.

    If you do not agree with the judge’s decision after he or she deals with your case in a simplified procedure (there was no hearing), you can object to the decision. To do this, you need to send a letter to the courthouse within 6 weeks. This letter is called the ‘notice of opposition’ (verzetschrift). If the court approves your notice of opposition, a hearing will take place.

    As soon as the applicant has an environmental permit, he or she can use it. This may mean that construction or demolition can start while you are still waiting for the judge’s decision. If you do not want this to happen, you can ask the judge to make a provisional ruling. Read more about provisional rulings.

How long does the procedure take

The appeal procedure for an environmental permit can take up to one year. A party can then appeal against the decision

How much does it cost?

When you start an environmental permit appeal procedure, you must pay court fees. These fees pay for the judge to hear the case. You will also need to pay for a lawyer and a mediator, if you want them. If the judge agrees with you, the administrative body has to pay all or some of your legal costs


Relevant topics (all in Dutch)

Legal advice

Do you want personal advice about your situation, help with writing documents or help obtaining legal assistance at the hearing? You do not have to have a lawyer for this procedure, but you can get a lawyer or another legal adviser if you want to.

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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