Introduced in 1987, the environmental assessment practice is well established in the Netherlands. However, in the past years, several changes have been made. For example because of incorporating European Directives, 'temporary crisis regulations' or because of new enabling legislation. The current legislation form 2010 will soon be replaced by a new environmental and planning act (ex. 2021).

In the Netherlands we distinguish between:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment for (relatively) simple, straightforward permits: the simplified procedure;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment for complex decisions and SEA for plans and programmes: the full-fledged procedure.

Note that ‘simplified’ does not necessarily mean ‘easy’. For EIA, the type of permit determines whether the simplified or full-fledged procedure applies. For permits related to the Environmental Act and Mining Act for example, the simplified procedure suffices. For EIA for complex decisions, all projects which require an appropriate assessment on the basis of the Dutch Nature Conservation Act and all projects in which a government body is proponent (e.g. expansion airport, projects concerning the infrastructure, housing programmes) the full-fledged procedure is required.