Environment & Planning
Houthoff's Environment & Planning Team are specialists in climate-related matters. We distinguish between climate mitigation (reducing and preventing CO2 emissions), which also covers the transition to renewable energy and energy conservation, and climate adaptation (adjusting the environment to the consequences of climate change).
- In the climate mitigation field, we are involved in large decarbonisation projects that aim to achieve the Paris climate targets. The team advises on issues like permits and their coordination, and environmental and sustainability subsidies (like the SDE++ subsidy scheme). These decarbonisation projects stimulate diverse CO2 reduction techniques, including CO2 capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen.
- We advise on renewable energy projects, mainly concerning onshore and offshore wind farms and solar parks. A key requirement for these projects is that all the necessary permits are timely obtained.
- Climate adaptation is particularly important in spatial projects and their design, and when advising on zoning plans and on decisions concerning project deviations from zoning plans. Our Environment & Planning Team has written on climate adaptation for various prominent publications, including for the American Bar Association.
We are intensely involved in due diligence and corporate M&A transactions, where sustainability requirements and the application of the ESG criteria, including the 'E' for 'Environment', play an increasingly important part. Applying the Social Development Goals of the United Nations, particularly in spatial projects, is also becoming increasingly important in the assessment discussions.
Marloes Brans is our Head of Climate Change. She was named Thought Leader Global Elite – Climate Change 2021 by Who's Who Legal. She also contributed to the development of the Lex Mundi Global Climate Change Guide.
Climate-related issuesOur Environment & Planning Team also litigate and advise on other climate-related issues:
- EU ETS (emissions trading scheme) and the national CO2 tax;
- implementation of other Urgenda measures, like the import levy on foreign waste;
- energy conservation in the real estate sector and industry, resulting from various sources, including the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the BENG Decree (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings), the Activities Decree (Art. 2.15) and the energy label;
- circular economy, and for example, the status of a product such as waste;
- climate adaptation in the built environment, and the issues of flooding, heat, drought and inundation;
- experimental laws and regulations to facilitate climate-related projects, such as under the Crisis and Recovery Act, and as part of the new Environment and Planning Act;
- other regulatory subjects at EU and Dutch level, for example the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, and the Packaging and Packaging and Waste Directive.
We work closely together with our other experts in the climate legislation field. Thanks to this multidisciplinary approach, our team can offer you well-considered advice and pragmatic solutions.
Advised various private and public organisations and public-private partnerships on the State aid rules, the competition rules and regulatory requirements regarding initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions in production processes, producing renewable energy and realising innovative applications and circular production methods. Moreover, the team was involved in various proceedings at national and EU level relating to measures introduced to realise climate objectives at local and national level.
Advised sponsors on the financing for several offshore and onshore windfarms in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Advised Van Oord on green term loans to finance two new vessels using cleaner technologies.
Advised senior lenders on the financing of the first metal recycling company in the Netherlands using a blended finance structure with financial support under the Energy Transition Facility from the Dutch department of economic affairs.
Advised Renewi on its green bond financing.
Advised various pension funds on implementing the Dutch Pensions Funds Agreement (IMVB-convenant).
Advised fund managers, investment firms and institutional investors on complying with the requirements under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).
Advised Climeworks AG on establishing a joint venture with SkyNRG B.V. to use CO2 captured from the air to produce sustainable aviation fuels, and related matters.
Advised fund managers, investment firms and institutional investors on implementing environmental, social and governance (ESG) related clauses in fund documentation, policy documents and fiduciary asset management agreements.
Advised Porthos as project counsel on acquiring a mining installation and related permits to store CO2 in empty gas fields beneath the North Sea, drafting related agreements and other matters. The Porthos Project is the largest CO2 reduction project in the Netherlands which aims to capture and store 37 million tonnes of CO2 in a 15-year period. Porthos is recognised by the European Union as a project of common interest.