The Dutch Inspectorate for the Environment and Transport (ILT) is the supervisor of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Ministry I&W). The ILT monitors and encourages compliance with laws and regulations for a safe and sustainable living environment and transport. Pursuant to Article 2 of the Decree establishing the Inspectorate for the Environment and Transport, the ILT's responsibilities include enforcing laws and regulations, issuing permits and conducting accident investigations. This blog focuses only on the ILT's enforcement of laws and regulations. One of the ways the ILT seeks to enforce laws and regulations is by conducting (unannounced) inspections.
The ILT as an administrative body
The ILT is a so-called "B-level administrative body" (see Article 1:1(1)(b) of the Dutch General Administrative Law Act). As a result, the Dutch General Administrative Law Act (Awb) and its provisions on enforcement (Chapter 5) apply to inspections carried out by the ILT.
The ILT's duties
Article 5:12 of the Awb requires supervisors to carry proof of identity (with photograph, name and capacity). When requested, the supervisor shows his proof of identity ''forthwith''. The advice is to always ask for proof of identity immediately, as well as to ask what the purpose of the inspection is.
A supervisor charged with checking compliance with regulations concerning the storage and transport of hazardous materials may not conduct an inspection that relates to working conditions. Control of working conditions is carried out by the Dutch Labor Inspectorate.
The powers of the ILT
The Awb gives the supervisor a number of powers to perform his task, whereby the supervisor is bound by the requirement of proportionality from Article 5:13 of the Awb: the supervisor only uses his powers to the extent necessary for the performance of his task. It follows from this that the power must be exercised in the manner least onerous for the citizen.
An obligation to cooperate applies to each of the powers to be discussed below. You are obliged to cooperate with the supervisor's investigation. This follows from Article 5:20 paragraph 1 of the Awb. If you do not comply with the obligation to cooperate, you may be subject to an order for incremental penalty payments.
An important power is the power to enter any place (whereby different rules apply to entering homes if the occupant does not give permission).
Pursuant to Article 5:15(2) of the Dutch General Administrative Law Act, supervisors may be accompanied by the police.
The supervisor has the power to demand information. This means that the supervisor may ask you and your colleagues questions and demand copies of documents and records. This follows from Article 5:17 Awb.
Under Article 5:16a Awb, the supervisor has the right to demand proof of identity from you and your colleagues. Finally, it follows from Articles 5:18 and 5:19 of the Awb that the supervisor is authorized to examine goods and take samples, as well as to inspect means of transport and their loads.
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