Permit for Circuit Zandvoort is not suspended

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Haarlem, 31 augustus 2021
The judge in the preliminary relief proceedings of the District Court of Noord-Holland has dismissed the request for a preliminary injunction made by MOB, Co-operative Mobilisation for the Environment. MOB had requested that the permit granted by the Province of Noord-Holland to Circuit Zandvoort be suspended.


In July, in proceedings on the merits the Noord-Holland District Court decided to reopen the inquiry in three cases concerning the permit granted to Circuit Zandvoort. The cases i.a. revolve around the question as to whether the expected nitrogen emissions will remain within the boundaries set for emission standards. The court commissioned the Stichting Advisering Bestuursrechtspraak (STAB- foundation advising courts in environmental law and spatial planning disputes) to study the matter and to issue an opinion. This inquiry will still be ongoing when the Dutch Grand Prix (F1) takes place on 3, 4 and 5 September.

In preliminary relief proceedings, MOB requested the court to either suspend the permit, pending the outcome of the STAB-inquiry or to order Circuit Zandvoort not to allow any race cars onto the track that have not been equipped with catalytic converters. During the hearing, the MOB proposed to allow the F1 to take place without spectators. According to the MOB, F1 could cause unacceptable ecological damage in the adjacent Natura 2000 area Kennemerland-Zuid due to a serious increase in nitrogen.

Judgment of the court

The court in preliminary relief proceedings finds that the positions of both parties are far apart and that additional expert investigation is required to dispel any ambiguity concerning the diverging positions. For this reason, in the proceedings on the merits in July, the Court had commissioned STAB to issue an opinion. Under these circumstances, the court in preliminary relief proceedings is very cautious in its preliminary assessment of the lawfulness of the permit. Such an assessment would to a large extent pre-judge the question as to who is right, whereas the court in the proceedings on the merits considers the assessment of STAB to be necessary in this matter.

In order to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be granted prior to the decision in the proceedings on the merits, the court weighs the interests at stake. MOB attaches importance to nature conservation and is committed to prevent ecological damage to the adjacent Natura 2000 area. Circuit Zandvoort, on the other hand, has now almost completed the organisation of the F1-event and has made considerable investments. Cancelling the F1 would immediately lead to substantial losses and possible bankruptcy for Circuit Zandvoort.

Since in the proceedings on the merits no judgment has yet been handed down regarding the lawfulness of the permit, the Court in preliminary relief proceedings has decided to rule in favour of Circuit Zandvoort. Therefore, the Court in preliminary relief proceedings sees insufficient scope for a complete or partial suspension of the permit.

Also view: this dedicated page about the lawsuits concerning Circuit Zandvoort