An ecological permit or other approval decision is required prior to a project that causes a release of nitrogen may lead to problems in Natura 2000 sites.
On May 29 2019, the highest administrative court decided that the Nitrogen Action Programme (PAS) may no longer be used as a basis for granting these permits. The government introduced PAS in 2015 with the aim of reducing the amount of nitrogen, strengthening nature and at the same time enabling economic development.
Housing construction and nitrogen
Since the discontinuation of the Nitrogen Action Programme (PAS) on 29 May 2019, many construction projects have come to a standstill. This is problematic for housing construction because that is where the need and social impact is highest. That is why the government has taken measures to reduce nitrogen deposit in order to accommodate the housing construction target of approximately 75,000 homes per year.
Granting of permit
Since October 2019, it has again been possible to apply for nature permits. If there are no nitrogen emissions, an initiator does not need a permit under the Dutch Nature Conservation Act. Since 24 March 2020, it has also been possible to apply for a nature permit based on the nitrogen registration system (Dutch).The nitrogen registration system can only be used to get an ecological permit for housing construction and a limited number of major infrastructure projects.
Anyone with questions about nitrogen or applying for permits for housing projects with potential nitrogen emissions can contact the helpdesk of BIJ12 (Dutch), the implementing body of the twelve Dutch provinces.
The BIJ12 helpdesk is the first point of contact for citizens, farmers and entrepreneurs who have questions about nitrogen, the application of the new policy when granting permission and the AERIUS Calculator. The provinces, or the competent ministry, can answer questions about a specific permit or consent decision.
Housing expert team
The housing expert team (Dutch) of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency helps municipalities with specific projects, also when nitrogen is the constrictive factor. The expert team supports municipalities during the process, but is also able to offer constructive advice.
Initiators can also report any difficult processes to the expert team. The expert team can then contact the relevant municipality or province to see if they can help.