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Environment and Planning Act.

Type of law
Date of original text

This Act reforms environmental law with special emphasis on planning. It seeks to modernise, harmonise and simplify current rules on land use planning, environmental protection, nature conservation, construction of buildings, protection of cultural heritage, water management, urban and rural redevelopment, development of major public and private works and mining and earth removal and integrate these rules into one legal framework. Sustainable development is the key objective of the Act. It provides better means of integrated policy, greater usability and substantial simplification of environmental law. The Act introduces a new system creating a policy cycle in which continuous care for quality of the physical environment forms the focus and which creates scope for development. With this Act and the associated implementation regulations, the government aims to achieve four improvement goals: improving the transparency, predictability and ease of use of environmental law; achieving a coherent approach towards the physical environment in policy, decision-making and regulations; more administrative discretion by means of an active and flexible approach in order to achieve objectives for the physical living environment; improving and speeding up the decision-making with regard to projects in the physical environment.
The Act is divide into 23 Chapters: General Provisions (1); Instructional rules and instructions (2); Environmental strategies and environmental programmes (3); General rules on activities in the physical environment (4); The environmental permit and the project decision (5); ; Obligation to tolerate (10); Land Development (12); Financial provisions (13); Damages (15); Procedures (16); Advisory bodies and advisors (17); Enforcement and implementation (18); Executive powers in special circumstances (19); Monitoring (20); Transitional provisions (22); Experimentation clause (23) (Chapter 6-9, 11, 14, 21 are reserved).
The Act introduces a system of environmental values on a municipal, provincial or national level relating to the physical environment. Environmental values are standards that establish the desired state or quality of the physical environment or of a part of it, in the form of a policy objective. An environmental value describes the actual quality that must be achieved or maintained in a specific location or at a specific point in time. The Mayor and Aldermen of a municipality is, in principle, obliged to establish a programme, in the event that an environmental value is not fulfilled or is expected not to be fulfilled. Each environmental value that is established must be subjected to a programme of monitoring, in order to assess whether or not the environmental value is being fulfilled. In the absence of more detailed regulations, environmental values will not be taken into account when establishing decisions, such as environmental visions, physical environment plans or environmental permits.
Based upon their concern for the physical environment and to guarantee uniformity in the way in which tasks are undertaken on a decentralised basis, the provincial authorities and the State are entitled to impose conditions regarding the manner in which tasks are carried out or powers exercised by decentralised governments. The Act introduces the concepts of 'environmental strategy' and 'programmes' as tools to be used in policy planning. The environmental strategy is an integrated strategy consisting of primary long-term strategic policy choices in relation to the living environment. This strategy is established by the State, the provinces and, wherever desired, by municipalities in relation to their budget and within their territorial boundaries. Programmes play an important role when it comes to converting the policy objectives contained in an environmental strategy into specific actions. Plans shall be subject to environmental impact assessment. Programmes on provincial level may arise directly from EU law or for the implementation of European policy requirements: River basin district management plans; Flood risk management plans; Air quality plan (State); Action plan for noise (State, province, municipality); National water programme; Marine strategy action plan; Regional water programme; Water management programme; Management plan for Natura 2000 areas.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Entry into force notes
The Environmental Act will come into effect on January 1, 2024.
Consolidated version of the Act of 23 March 2016, as last amended by the Act of 25 October 2023, published in the State Gazette no. 387 of 2023.
Serial Imprint
State Gazette no. 156 of 2016.
Source language


Legislation status
in force
Legislation Amendment
Original title
Amended by