This is a blog entry in the FAQ-series.

Some general information:

  • Establishments: the Activities Decree only applies to establishments
  • Main rule: the general rules in the Activities Decree
  • Exception: the environmental permit

The Activities Decree without an environmental permit

Whether an activity falls within the scope of the Activities Decree can be determined by following the next two steps.

  1. The activity qualifies as an establishment under the Environmental Management Act (hereinafter: EMA)

This is the case if:

  • The activity qualifies as an establishment under article 1.1, subsection 1 of the EMA. In short, this applies if the activity is performed i) for a certain period of time, usually six months or more, or on a regular basis, ii) in the same location, and iii) as a business or has a business scope, and:
  • The activity falls under the scope of one of the categories of division B or division C of annex I of the Environmental Permitting Decree (hereinafter: EPD). This division contains 29 categories (article 1.1 subsection 3 Environmental Planning Act, article 1.1 subsection 4 EMA article 1.1 subsection 3 EMA, article 2.1 subsection 1 EPD).

For a more elaborate explanation of the qualification of an activity as an establishment, click here.

  1. The establishment is not designated as one that is obligated to have a permit in annex I sections B and C of the EPD but activities that fall under the scope of the Activities Decree are carried out in the establishment.

For a more elaborate explanation of the obligation to have a permit for an establishment, click here.

Evidently, only those sections of the Activities Decree apply to establishments if the activities they concern take place. For example: regulations concerning cooling towers do not apply to establishments that do not contain a cooling tower.

Intermezzo: Type A-establishments (no notification necessary) and type B-establishments (notification necessary)

The Activities Decree applies to establishment types A, B and C, according to article 1.2. It is clear that only establishments fall under the scope of the Activities Decree. To tell which sections of the Activities Decree apply , it is important to determine what type of establishment it concerns.

  1. A type A-establishment is one that:
  • Does not require an environmental permit for constructing, operating or altering an establishment, and;
  • Meets the criteria of article 1.2 of the Activities Decree. This concerns establishments with limited effects on the environment such as office buildings or small stores.
  • Type A-establishments do not require a notification
  1. A type B-establishment is one that:
  • Does not require an environmental permit for constructing, operating or altering an establishment, and;
  • Is not a type A-establishment

Type B-establishments require a notification according to article 1.9b, subsection a of the Activities Decree.

The Activities Decree and an environmental permit

  1. The first step is the same as the first step described above
  2. The establishment is designated as one that is obligated to have a permit (article 2.1, subsection 2 EPD) and the Activities Decree applies to the activities taking place in the establishment.

For a more elaborate explanation of the obligation to have a permit for establishments, click here.

Similarly, the Activities Decree only applies if relevant activities take place in that establishment.

Intermezzo: type C-establishments

A type C-establishment is one that:

  1. Requires an environmental permit for constructing, operating or altering an establishment
  2. For type C-establishments an obligation to notify the competent authority applies according to article 1.9b, subsection b of the Activities Decree, insofar it concerns activities that chapter 3 of the Activities Decree applies to.

Type C-establishments are, as explained previously, establishments that are obliged to have a permit. Regulations for these establishments can therefore be found in the permit itself. In addition, the regulations from the Activities Decree also apply.

Note that when a type C-establishment needs to be altered, it is necessary to assess whether there is  an obligation to notify the competent authority. As explained previously, this is the case when (at least one of) the activities taking place in the establishment fall under the scope of chapter 3 of the Activities Decree. Also, it is important to determine whether the alteration conforms with the permit. If not, a new permit is needed for this alteration. Therefore, there may be instances when a the alteration to an establishment leads to a notification for the competent authorities and a new permit.