The construction and presence of Maasvlakte 2 requires a large number of permits, exemptions, concessions and amendments or dispensations to zoning plans. Legal procedures have been followed to grant or establish them. Parts of these procedures are public participation, viewpoint, objection and appeal procedures. All necessary permit and plan decisions have in the meantime been applied for and laid down or approved. Appeal procedures against a number of decisions are still before the courts.
The procedures may be subdivided into three tracks:
- Spatial planning (amendments, dispensations, and new zoning plans)
- Nature permits
- Maasvlakte 2 zoning plan, approved by disposition of 16 December 2008;
- Partial revision of Maasvlakte zoning plan '81, for the inclusion of the noise contour of Maasvlakte 2 into the Maasvlakte '81 plan area, approved by disposition of 16 December 2008;
- Partial revision of the 1999 Sea Area (Zeegebied) zoning plan, for the inclusion of the noise contour of Maasvlakte 2 into the 1999 Sea Area (Westvoorne) plan area, approved by decision of 16 December 2008;
- Dispensation (pursuant to Section 19 of the Spatial Planning Act) from the Maasvlakte '81 zoning plan, for the construction of the land reclamation in the Maasvlakte '81 plan area, established on 27 May 2008.
On 22 May 2008, the Rotterdam municipal council established the zoning plan for Maasvlakte 2 and the partial revision of the Maasvlakte '81 zoning plan. On 27 May 2008, Westvoorne's municipal council established the partial revision of the 1999 Westvoorne Sea Area zoning plan. The Provincial Executives of Zuid-Holland and Zeeland approved the zoning plans and their revisions on 16 and 9 December 2008, respectively.
Nature and construction permits and exemptions
The five principal permits and exemptions for the construction of Maasvlakte 2 are:
- Nature Conservancy Act 1998: protects nature reserves and protected species living therein;
- Flora and Fauna Act: protects plants and animals, also outside protected zones;
- Concession: permission for land reclamation;
- Public Works (Management) Act: permission to work in or on the seabed;
Earth removal permit: permission to take sand out of the sea (sand extraction).
Nature and earth removal permits
A permit based on the Nature Conservancy Act 1998 is needed for the land reclamation and the sand extraction necessary for it. Sand extraction also requires a permit based on the Earth Removal Act, and for the land reclamation, exemptions pursuant to the Flora and Fauna Act are needed. The permit based on the Nature Conservancy Act 1998 was granted on 17 April 2008. The permit pursuant to the Earth Removal Act and the exemptions pursuant to the Flora and Fauna Act were established on 18 and 16 April 2008, respectively.
Environmental compensation for construction and presence
In 2008, the then Minister of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality nominated the Voordelta as a Natura 2000 zone. Consequently, it forms part of a European network of nature reserves. It is necessary to restrict access to a number of sub-zones within the Voordelta Natura 2000 zone. These sub-zones are a seabed protection zone in which seabed-disturbing fishery is restricted, and five reserves for seals and birds. The Natura 2000 objectives are realised through these access restrictions. Besides this, the access restrictions serve as compensation for Maasvlakte 2's effects on the Voordelta coastal area. The Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality instituted the access restrictions to zones within the Voordelta by means of access restriction decisions pursuant to Section 20 of the Nature Conservancy Act 1998, taken on 9 June 2008.
In addition, the measures in the access restriction decisions were included in the Voordelta Management Plan. This management plan was laid down by the State Secretary of the former Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management by decision of 1 July 2008 and by the Zeeland Provincial Executive Committee, with the approval of the Zuid-Holland Provincial Executive Committee, by decision of 8 July 2008. This stipulation took place in agreement with the then Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
The decision-making about the environmental compensation for the future use of Maasvlakte 2 (the dune compensation) is complete. The decision-making for the environmental compensation for the construction and presence of the land reclamation (the seabed protection zone) has come about through the following decisions:
- The Voordelta Directive Decision, taken on 19 February 2008;
The Access Restriction Decisions, taken on 9 June 2008 (the measures in these decisions were also included in the Voordelta Management Plan that was laid down in dispositions of 1 and 8 July 2008).
On the basis of the Public Works (Management) Act, the Port of Rotterdam Authority applied for a concession and permit to construct the land reclamation. These decisions were enacted by the Crown and the Minister for Transport, Public Works and Water Management on 23 May and 2 June respectively.