Dutch businesses must comply with specific environmental regulations, which are based on the Environmental Management Act and incorporated within general environmental rules such as the Environmental Activities Decree or environmental licensing.
The Environmental Management Act is the centrepiece of eco-legislation and determines what (legal) tools can be deployed to protect the environment. The main instruments are environmental plans and programmes as well as requirements on environmental quality, licensing, general rules and enforcement. The same Act also contains rules on levies, contributions and compensation.
The Dutch government, provinces and local districts establish management plans to shape the Netherlands now and in the future. The Spatial Planning Act regulates how these plans are produced and amended.
Waste management policy is geared primarily to preventing the appearance of waste. The Dutch government also strives to recycle as much waste as possible.
The EU REACH Regulation describes how businesses should address the issue of working with chemicals. REACH aims to protect people and the environment against the dangers of chemical substances.
The Water Act website provides detailed background information on Dutch water policy, including the Act itself.
Climate and air
The following websites of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) provide information on laws and regulations involving climate change and air quality.
The Dutch Noise Act contains specifications designed to combat and prevent noise from sources such as industry, road traffic and rail transport.
The Nuclear Energy Act contains rules for guarding against the dangers of nuclear energy.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.
Permits and licences
You do not have to notify your local authority if your business is non-polluting - this applies, for example, to schools and offices.
If your business does pollute, but only minimally, you need to submit an environmental notification to the local authority.
In other, more complex cases, you require an environmental permit from the local or provincial authority.
Environmental report and business plan
Large industrial businesses are obliged to produce an annual environmental report (MJV) describing the impact of their activities on the environment, and to submit this electronically to the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM).
Annual environmental reports and/or PRTR reports covering the previous 12 months must be submitted by no later than 31 March each year. This is possible using the electronic annual environmental report (e-MJV), released in the first week of January.
Once every four years, businesses with a specified number of branches are obliged to produce an environmental business plan (BMP). In such cases, the annual environmental report will also contain a progress report on BMP implementation.
Most businesses compiling a MJV must also submit an electronic 'PRTR report' for the European Pollutant Release Transfer Register. Some businesses need only submit a PRTR report (without an annual environmental report).
The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) provides information on environmental legislation.
The online guide to the Environmental Activities Decree tells you whether you have to submit a notification, either directly or through your business, and whether you require an environmental permit.
InfoMil provides a legislative guide to the relevant environmental laws and regulations for licensing authorities and businesses.
You can find information from the Dutch government on the Antwoordvoorbedrijven.nl website.
There are various environmental subsidies for businesses. For more information about these, click on the link below: