Law and regulations on biomass

Last checked on:
9 November 2021
Published on:
1 November 2021

Biomass systems must follow Dutch legislation, such as the Nature Conservation Act and, in the case of emissions standards, the Activities Decree. See below for an explanation.

The Activities Decree has its description of biomass. Biomass comprises:

  • Vegetal agricultural or forestry material,
  • Vegetal waste from the food industry,
  • Cork waste, and
  • Category A wood.

Other rules cover more polluting varieties of wood as they can release unwanted substances when incinerated.


You do not need an environmental permit to use wood pellets or other woody biomass with a  capacity of less than 15 MWth. Following the Activities Decree, notifying the competent authority is enough. Systems over 15 MWth need a permit.

The incineration of waste is subject to permit obligations. But, biomass combustion that is also classed as waste, is not subject to permit obligations. This applies to practical applications and if the system's capacity is no higher than 15 MWth. Otherwise, biomass waste is a waste product within the meaning of the Framework Directive. 

Owners and operators with a system of over 130 kilowatts of thermal energy (kWth) must apply for a building permit for a boiler room. Or use an existing boiler room. A biomass project may also be subject to a permit obligation based on the Nature Conservation Act

Commissioned by:
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
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