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  • Constitution of the Netherlands, 1814

The Constitution of the Netherlands1, with its amendments until 2002, contains fundamental rules concerning environmental protection. Article 21 states that the Authorities shall be concerned by keeping the country habitable and protecting and improving the environment.

From 1 October 2010, the key substantive environmental statute in The Netherlands is the Environmental Permitting Act (ELA). The ELA provides for a procedural integration of more than 25 permitting regimes in the field of environmental law, as well as in the field of spatial planning and building law. It replaces the permits and other permissions previously required under these permitting regimes with one single environmental permit based on the ELA (Environmental Permit). The ELA does not integrate the substantive framework of the different permitting regimes. The substantive rules are still provided separately by other relevant environmental statutes covering specific fields. The Environmental Control Act (ECA) is the most important, providing rules for a large number of regulations and covering acts such as the Water act, the Nature conservation act, Flora and Fauna act and Environmental impact assessment.

Information on Netherland’s environmental legislation can be accessed through the Government’s official website.

1. The current Constitution of Netherlands can be found in English (unofficial version) here.