On 3 December 2015, the primary strategic advisory board for the Dutch government (Rli, Raad voor de leefomgeving en infrastructuur) advised about the new Environment and Planning Act, which has been adopted in July 2015 by the Dutch House of Representatives and is currently being debated in the Dutch Senate.
The new Environment and Planning Act is already considered the biggest legislative operation since the renewal of the Dutch constitution in 1848. Anne-Marie Klijn (partner Public Law) was consulted by the Council for her extraordinary expertise in this regard.
The new system has two main aims, which are sometimes at odds. The first is to create an integrated approach to environmental and planning issues, facilitate new development, increase decision-making latitude, speed up procedures, enable innovation and remove obstacles. The second is to maintain current levels of protection, ensure good environmental quality, improve the consistency of decision-making and respect the rights of citizens and businesses.
The Dutch government is now elaborating the provisions of the Environment and Planning Act in the form of general administrative orders and a National Environment and Planning Vision. In order to do justice to the reform’s goals (‘simpler and better’), it is important that the various decisions now being taken are consistent with one another and with the two main aims of the system.
In the advice 'Maak de ambities waar' ('Fulfilling the ambitions') the Council advises the Dutch government about the new Act and in particular about the balance between scope for development and necessary safeguards for quality.
NautaDutilh as a legislative innovator
NautaDutilh is following this historic legislative operation closely, given the fact Anne-Marie Klijn is a member of the National Advisory Committee appointed by the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. NautaDutilh holds a long tradition as a legislative innovator. Not only did our lawyers draft in 1808 the first Dutch Commercial Code, we also (co)founded in 1873 the Institut du Droit International for which NautaDutilh lawyer Tobias Asser was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911.