25 août 2017 Droit public
Netherlands – From now on, the legal terms « environmental emissions » and « information on environmental emissions » must be interpreted more broadly than in the past. On 16 August 2017 the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State ruled in favour of Greenpeace in its protracted dispute with the province of Groningen. The dispute concerns Greenpeace’s efforts to obtain certain documents under the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wet openbaarheid van bestuur). The Administrative Jurisdiction Division had postponed its decision in this case until the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down its judgments in Bayer CropScience / Stichting De Bijenstichting and Commission / ACC. Based on those judgments, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division has now held that the term « information on environmental emissions » is not limited to information on actual emissions but can also include information on the effects of emissions on the environment and « information that will enable the public to check whether the assessment of actual or foreseeable emissions […] is correct ». This interpretation substantially expands the scope of these terms.
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