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Environmental Law

When governments or large corporations are involved in shaping the physical environment, they must make constant choices, often involving significant and conflicting interests. Environmental Law provides the framework for making sound decisions in these situations. Pels Rijcken has a team of over twenty lawyers specialising in environmental legal issues. Our Environmental Law team understands the political-administrative sensitivities and legal context of challenges within the physical environment better than anyone else.

Environmental Law attorneys

At Pels Rijcken, our Environmental Law attorneys specialise in the legal consequences of spatial and environmental decisions on a daily basis. They are well-versed in all aspects of Environmental Law, including sustainable spatial development, energy and climate, and environmental enforcement. Our attorneys' specific knowledge and experience ensure precise legal analyses and practical, swift solutions.

The Environmental Law team applies their expertise in legal project management, court procedures (administrative and otherwise), advising and providing second opinions. They also serve as a sounding board for various Environmental Law themes.

Legal project management

During the preparatory phase of large, complex spatial projects (such as amending a spatial plan or drafting a project decision), our attorneys often join the client's project team to provide legal project management. In the project team, they take care of legal project management. The goal is to legally safeguard and document the rationale behind strategic choices and considerations in project preparation, resulting in well-founded and sustainable project choices that hold up in court.

Have your project legally reviewed

Pels Rijcken offers workshops and checks to assist project teams in making decisions and conducting associated research to ensure their plans are legally sound and would hold up in front of the Dutch Council of State. Examples include:

  • The CrashTest: a legal assessment of the spatial decision and other plan products (such as environmental impact assessments, reports or acoustic surveys) before they are approved and made public. For each issue, we provide a concrete solution. The goal is to make your plan products 'Council of State-proof' as early as possible. Together, we adjust the depth of the assessment based on the significance of each plan product. We comprehensively assess the decision and its justification and assess key reports at a high level. The research must be comprehensible, and the conclusion must be accurate and in line with laws, regulations and precedents. Depending on the project, this could include environmental impact assessments, reports or acoustic surveys. For less significant topics, we assess whether the relevant information is included in the decision justification. When the draft plan products have been made available for public review, an assessment of the opinions report is a logical addition. We are happy to perform this assessment as well.

    Our experience shows that every CrashTest, without exception, reveals one or more action points that benefit the project in court. Points that, as a result of the CrashTest, have been addressed and elaborated on, and it turns out that it is precisely that extra little bit of attention that has tipped the balance towards a positive ruling. That's what we're here for

  • Line in order: a workshop on legal project management that ensures well-founded and sustainable project choices that stand up in court. The question ‘Is my line in order?’ not only structures but also verifies. By answering this question at all relevant decision points, the quality of the planning process improves right before your eyes. It not only reveals gaps and inconsistencies but also opportunities. When you ask yourself the question, there is room for new, better insights.

The workshop consists of an introduction of about three-quarters of an hour, during which the theory is explained (using compelling examples). Then, the participants themselves get to work by practicing with their own practical case.

Pels Rijcken’s clients in the field of Environmental Law

Pels Rijcken's public law clients include the State, provinces, municipalities and water authorities. Examples include the provinces of North Holland, Gelderland and Overijssel, the municipalities of The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Leiden, the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority, and the Stichtse Rijnlanden Water Authority. Additionally, we also work for several large companies including Jumbo, KPN, and TenneT. Pels Rijcken has an extensive track record in large and/or complex projects, decision-making processes and procedures.

Environmental Law Newsletter

Through our Environmental Law Newsletter, we keep you informed about all (legal) developments and news within the domain of Environmental Law.


  • "The team is best in class for supporting local and central governments. It has a great sense of political sensitivities and how to deal with those in complex legal situations." - The Legal 500, 2024
  • "Pels Rijcken is the dedicated law firm for legal advice and procedures for the Dutch Government. They are a full-service law firm and they are competent over the full legal spectrum." - The Legal 500, 2024
  • "They have a high level of expertise and experience, which allows them to get to the heart of the issues well and quickly." - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • "They handle complex issues thoroughly." - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • "Pels Rijcken's team has a great deal of experience in every aspect of environmental and zoning law." - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "Pels Rijcken has advised excellently on highly complex legal issues related to environmental law. Its team will take a multidisciplinary approach to come to excellent legal solutions. Their advice is clear, accurate and convincing, and they have great expertise." - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "Pels Rijcken has a large team of specialised lawyers in spatial planning law and environmental law. Within the team all relevant expertise is represented and readily available." - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "The team has excellent knowledge of the full spectrum of environmental law. They think proactively and strategically with solutions to complex legal issues that arise, including those of large infrastructural projects. The legal quality of the advice and the representation in court is excellent." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "High level of knowledge, practical experience, and sense of creativity." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Their knowledge of constitutional and administrative law is excellent. Besides they have a keen eye on the political aspects of the cases the government has to deal with." - The Legal 500, 2023