Urgent improvement needed in permit issuance, supervision, and enforcement Caribbean Netherlands

Many island residents will not be surprised by the harsh conclusions of the ILT. Photo: Stinapa Bonaire

THE HAGUE – A study conducted by the Inspection for the Environment and Transport (ILT) on behalf of State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Environment) concludes that improvements are urgently needed in the areas of permit issuance, supervision, and enforcement related to construction, environment, and nature (VTH) in Caribbean Netherlands.

The study revealed, among other things, that the current VTH system falls short, despite the efforts of the island administrations. According to the researchers, the main reason for this is that the public bodies are too small to establish and maintain a robust VTH system.

Furthermore, the ILT concludes that the execution of VTH tasks on the three islands does not meet the legal requirements and local regulations, resulting in insufficient protection of the environment and nature.

Based on its findings, the ILT recommends that the execution of VTH tasks be transferred to one environmental agency in the European Netherlands to ensure knowledge, experience, and continuity. Additionally, the issues within the administrative organization of the public bodies need to be addressed promptly in collaboration with the environmental agency. It is also important to ensure current and adequate legislation and regulations for construction, environment, and nature, as well as strengthen the position of the State Representative so they can intervene when problems arise in the execution of VTH tasks.

Implementation of recommendations

The parties involved will work together to implement the recommendations and conclusions from the study. State Secretary Heijnen will inform the Second Chamber of Parliament about the next steps, including the recommendation to establish an environmental agency, after the summer.

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