An environmental permit is the official permission granted by a government agency allowing citizens, businesses and other authorities to carry out certain activities in the physical local environment. For example:
- when carrying out building work
- when making alterations to a listed building
- when cutting down a tree;
- when carrying out an activity that may impact the environment or affect a Natura 2000 site.
The Omgevingswet (Environment Act) entered into force on 1 January 2024. This legislation is the new cornerstone of environmental law. Many of the rules previously set out in other legislation have been transferred to the Environment Act. The Environment Act regulates everything for the physical living environment in the areas of construction, spatial planning, monuments, tree felling, the environment, nature and water.
There are general rules that apply to certain activities. For some activities, there is a duty to notify or provide information to the public authorities. In some cases, certain activities do not require a permit, while in other cases, there is a duty of care associated with the activity. There are also permits that remain in place.
There are general rules at national, provincial and municipal level and for the water board. The general rules at municipality level are set out in the environmental plan. Each municipality must adopt one environmental plan for the entire municipal territory. The environmental plan may also stipulate which activities require an environmental permit.