The Province of Zuid-Holland is working on more transparency regarding high-risk businesses
Published on 29 January 2019
The Province of Zuid-Holland and the joint environmental protection agency in Zuid-Holland (DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond) want to provide more information to businesses and residents on the regulations concerning high-risk businesses, and on the compliance with them. They aim to have the relevant details of all high-risk businesses in Zuid-Holland available digitally in 2022. The initial results will become apparent even sooner.
High-risk businesses are businesses that work with larger quantities of dangerous substances. For instance: refineries, chemical and petrochemical industries and storage and transhipment businesses. These businesses have to meet very strict safety standards to prevent serious accidents and to limit the risks to human health and the environment as much as possible.
These standards have been set out in various acts, decisions and bylaws, and those are tightened up regularly. That is what makes the permit granting process complicated and as a result, businesses, residents and other interested parties find it hard to know exactly which rules apply at any given time.
Always Up-to-date Digital Permit
With its ‘Always an Up-to-date Digital Permit’ the Province of Zuid-Holland and the DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond intend to improve the insight into the legislation concerning high-risk businesses. This programme aims to realise a digital environment, in which it will constantly be clear to the Province, the environmental agencies, businesses and others which specific regulations each particular business has to comply with. In time, this digital environment will offer information on the emission of harmful substances and the quantity of discharge by the businesses.
Regional Minister Floor Vermeulen gave the go-ahead for the realisation of the programme on Monday 28 January 2019: “Our Always Up-to-date Digital Permit will increase the safety of our environment. At the same time, we arrange for less hassle for businesses and authorities. And yet another advantage is that it will be easier for residents to find out whether there are any risks in their neighbourhood, and how the Province and the environmental agencies oversee the curtailing of those risks.”
The first version of the Always Up-to-date Digital Permit will be launched this year. It is intended specifically for those immediately involved in the permit process: the high-risk businesses themselves and the responsible authorities. Next, the programme will be gradually expanded and made accessible to residents and other interested parties. In time, information on other businesses might be added as well. The Always Up-to-date Digital Permit will be designed to allow to link to the Digital System Environment and Planning Act (Digitaal Stelsel Omgevingswet) in 2021.
The Province of Zuid-Holland, in its capacity of competent authority, is responsible for the permit granting process and, if required, its enforcement at the businesses in Zuid-Holland that entail the highest risks. The Netherlands has over 400 high-risk businesses, of which more than 120 in Zuid-Holland. There are 6 specialised environmental agencies to perform the tasks of granting a permit, supervision and enforcement with regard to these high-risk businesses. DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond performs these tasks in Zuid-Holland, on behalf of the Province of Zuid-Holland.
To inform well
The Province of Zuid-Holland and the DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond want to inform the persons living in the direct vicinity of these high-risk businesses and other interested parties, as well as possible about these businesses, the risks they entail and the way in which we, the Province, grant permits, supervise and enforce. That is why earlier on, the Province already presented an online map in which all high-risk businesses in Zuid-Holland have been marked.