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.

Environmental permit

What is an environmental permit?

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.

Environment Act

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.


When is an environmental permit required?

You can do the following on the environmental portal (, in Dutch)

  • check whether you are allowed to carry out an activity in a certain place and whether you need a permit to do so;
  • view the rules that apply at that location;
  • submit an application or make a notification.

The online environmental portal is part of the 'Digitale Stelsel Omgevingswet – DSR'(Digital System for the Environment Act).


When can you apply to the administrative court to appeal against an environmental-permit decision?

Initial objection

Is an environmental permit needed and has it been granted, amended, revoked or refused? If you are an interested party, you can usually challenge the public authority’s decision. In some cases, you can submit representations against the draft decision, rather than raising a formal objection.

Do you disagree with the decision in response to your objection?

A few example situations

  • According to the environmental plan, you need an environmental permit to cut down a tree. The municipality has rejected your application. You file an objection against this rejection. Your objection is also rejected. You can then appeal to the district court.
  • According to the environment plan, you need an environmental permit to build an extension to your house. The municipality has granted you a permit for this. Your neighbour has raised an objection to this permit. The municipality finds in favour of your neighbour and revokes your permit. You can then appeal to the district court.

Is your case urgent?

There are cases when it is possible to make use of an environmental permit immediately, meaning for example that construction can take place while court proceedings are still pending. If waiting for the outcome of your objection to the public authority or appeal to the court is not an option for you because of the consequences, you can apply to the district court to provisionally stop the entry into force of a public authority’s decision. This is called a ‘verzoek om een voorlopige voorziening’ (application for an interim measure). The conditions for making this type of application are that there is an urgent situation and you have either objected to the decision with the public authority or lodged an appeal with the district court. The court decides whether to grant an application for an interim measure.

Did you apply for an environmental permit before 1 January 2024?

Do you disagree with a decision made by a public authority regarding an environmental permit applied for before 1 January 2024? In that case, any proceedings at the district court will continue to be dealt with under the old law.


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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