The Dutch Act 'Wabo' lays down the rules for granting an “All-in-one Permit” for Physical Aspects, including environmental permits and odour policies for companies. Odour legislation has been decentralized to local governments. Depending on the situation the provinces or municipalities are the competent authority to issue permits. In most cases the mayor and aldermen now hold authority to grant or refuse an All-in-one Permit. In a few cases, the provincial executive or relevant minister holds this authority. Local authorities may develop their own odour policy within general national defined rules. These rules are: if there is no nuisance, no mitigation measures to reduce odour emissions are necessary;in case of an unacceptable level of nuisance companies have to apply best available techniques to reduce the nuisance;the competent authority defines which level of nuisance is acceptable.
The city of Helmond is situated in the south of the Netherlands. It is an industrial city with large odour emitting industries, especially food and feed industries and intensive livestock farms. Major odour producing industries and farms are situated in the centre of the city or south from neighbourhoods. Residents of these neighbourhoods complain about odour nuisance. Also the spatial development of old industrial estates in the centre of the town is complicated due to existing permitted odour contours . An additional complicating factor is the fact that the province of Noord Brabant is the competent authority for the major odour emitting companies in Helmond.
For these reasons Helmond decided to develop a local odour policy. Buro Blauw was asked to assist in the development of this odour policy. The major goal of this policy is to define a balance between a good environmental quality for odour and a good establishment for business. This policy consists out of: Applying the odour policy of the province of Noord Brabant; Applying best available techniques to reduce odour nuisance; An acceptable odour nuisance level based on the hedonic tune of the emitted odours; The cumulative odour concentration; Applying the systemic of the national health authorities for defining the health quality of the living environment on the basis of the odour exposure; A standard for the cumulative ambient odour concentration applicable for new activities or expansion of existing activities.