Planning and Environmental Law

When governments or large companies are involved in the design of the physical living environment, choices must continuously be made. Major and conflicting interests are often at stake. Planning and environmental law offers a framework for sound assessment of the issues involved. Pels Rijcken is the only Dutch law firm with a team of about 20 attorneys specialised in planning and environmental law.

Planning and Environmental Law attorneys

Our planning and environmental law attorneys focus day in, day out on the legal consequences of planning and environmental choices. They are masters in all elements of planning and environmental law down to the smallest nuances, for instance in relation to area development, energy and climate and environmental enforcement. The specific knowledge and experience of our attorneys always guarantee 'to the point' legal analyses and practical, fast solutions.

Would you like to know more about our team? Watch the video.

Areas of expertise

Pels Rijcken’s planning and environmental law attorneys put their specialised expertise to use in legal project management, conducting proceedings before the (administrative) courts, and providing advice and second opinions. They also act as a sounding board, sometimes concerning specific aspects of a case, in areas including the following:

Urban and Area Development

  • Mobility
  • Expropriation and Compensation for Loss resulting from Administrative Acts
  • Energy and Climate
  • Disasters and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nature
  • Soil
  • Water

Legal project management

In the preparation phase of large, complex spatial projects (e.g. the amendment of a zoning plan), our attorneys regularly form part of the client's project team. Their role within the team is to take care of the legal project management, with the aim of legally securing and recording the reasons for strategic choices and considerations in the project preparation. This results in well-substantiated and comprehensible project choices that will stand up in court.

Have your project checked from a legal perspective

Pels Rijcken's team have developed workshops and checks to help project teams make the decisions and associated investigations 'Council of State-proof'. Examples include:

  • The Blind Spots Check: a preventive check to identify any invisible loopholes in the project.
  • The workshop Sound Project Planning: a workshop to help you make well-substantiated and comprehensible project choices that will stand up in court.
  • The Crash Test: a legal assessment of the decision and other planning products (EIA reports, etc.) before they are adopted (in draft form).

Our clients in the area of planning and environmental law

Pels Rijcken's public law clients include the Dutch State, provinces, municipalities, water boards and water authorities. A few examples include the provinces of Noord-Holland and Gelderland, the municipalities of The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Haarlem, the Vallei and Veluwe Water Board and the Veluwe and the Stichtse Rijnlanden Water Authority. We also work for a number of large companies including Jumbo, KPN and Synchroon. The team has built up an extensive track record in large or complex projects, decision-making processes and procedures. For example, the team has been involved in:

  • New Lock Terneuzen
  • Highest Residential Tower in the Netherlands (Rotterdam Zalmhaven Tower)
  • Urgenda
  • Groningen gas extraction
  • The Integrated Approach to Nitrogen programme (‘PAS’)(questions referred for preliminary ruling)
  • Rotterdam Collection Building
  • Jumbo/realisation of Distribution Centre Nieuwegein
  • Reducing monoculture in postcode area 1012 Amsterdam
  • Asbestos fire in the Municipality of Westland
  • Flood protection

Recommendations

  • One client extols the team as "the best in the fieldon account of the lawyers' legal knowledge and advocacy skills," and adds: "They have a good feel for the political process and the social context.", Chambers Europe 2019
  • Another source adds: "Their commitment is very strong, they keep on going until every detail is settled."The source adds: "They are creative and always find a way out of a difficult situation.", Chambers Europe 2019
  • "They communicate in a very effective way and are fast, accurate, concise, accessible and easy to get along with. They can provide a high-end legal solution on complex issues at very short notice.", Chambers Europe 2018
  • "They have the ability to see things from the perspective of the client, in order to provide realistic and practical advice.", Chambers Europe 2018
  • "The 'very effective communicators' are 'always impressive', delivering 'high-end solutions to complex issues at very short notice'.", Legal 500 2018
  • "The team has impressed me many times. It is a close-knit team which is fast, accurate, concise, always accessible and easy to get along with. They are also able to provide high-end legal solutions on complex issues at very short notice.", Chambers Europe 2017
  • "New developments are always on top of their mind and they develop pragmatic legal products which are very useful.", Chambers Europe 2017
  • "It is very customer-focused and has proved to us that it has extensive knowledge. A lot of attention is paid to fostering a good working relationship with the client.", Chambers Europe 2016
  • "It is accessible, it has deep knowledge of public law and it practises law in a way that adds significant value to the client's business.", Chambers Europe 2016 
  • "The team's sector knowledge is 'up to date and thorough'.", Legal 500 2016