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Improving the quality of environmental law is high on the agenda of both the European Union and its Member States. In the Netherlands, there has been a series of changes of law in order to simplify and improve the complex and fragmented system of environmental law. However, the improvement of sectoral legislation has not led to the desired result. The Dutch legislature now considers a fundamental reform of environmental law necessary. One of the main goals is to achieve a coherent approach towards the physical environment in policy, decision-making and regulations. The Environment and Planning Act brings together 26 acts and about 120 governmental decrees in the area of spatiality and planning, infrastructure, nature and water, in order to create a single act for the physical environment.
This book focuses on one of the key instruments of environmental law, the environmental permit. The integration of sectoral environmental permit systems is a way to simplify and speed up decision-making procedures for the authorisation of activities affecting the physical environment. The goal is to introduce a fully integrated environmental permit system. This means not only procedural integration of sectoral permitting systems but also substantive integration of the various assessment criteria. This concept of integrated environmental permitting has generated a great deal of discussion in the Netherlands. In the context of this research, an overview will be given of developments in the field of integrated environmental permitting in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Developments in EU environmental law and the new Dutch Environment and Planning Act are also included.