Intervention matrix

When addressing violations of transport, infrastructure, environment or housing legislation or regulations in the Netherlands, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) utilises an interventiematrix (intervention matrix). This matrix forms part of the Landelijke Handhavingsstrategie Omgevingsrecht, LHSO (National Enforcement Strategy for Environmental Law). Using this matrix the ILT can determine the most appropriate intervention required for each individual violation which brings about the most effective social impact. This provides a guarantee that in similar cases, those in violation are treated uniformly.

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The ILT has determined the consequences for the most common and most serious violations for each specific area of activity (only in Dutch). The ILT determines how to appropriately intervene based on how serious the potential consequences of a violation are for society in combination with the intention behind the offender’s behaviour. 

Below the diagram you can find some practical examples of the application of the intervention matrix.

Intervention matrix – Landelijke Handhavingsstrategie Omgevingsrecht (LHSO)

Intervention strategy principles

The following are the strategic principles that form the basis of the intervention matrix:

  • An effective intervention is appropriate, effective and deters future and/or further offences.
  • When choosing the type of intervention, its effect is leading.
  • The ILT works in a risk-oriented and information-driven way. ILT inspectors consider the level of potential harm or harm to society and the intention behind the offender’s behaviour to determine the most appropriate intervention.
  • There are no rigid guidelines for the sequence of the interventions.
  • Only in special cases can the ILT can deviate from the enforcement strategy. 
  • The ILT measures the potential impact or impact on society of each intervention. In this way the ILT continuously evaluates its enforcement strategy.

Consequences: substantial and/or irreversible

The ILT assesses the potential consequences of a violation as 'substantial, and/or irreversible' if the violation causes social unrest or serious damage to the environment, damage to nature or water pollution. For example, if the violation could lead to deterioration of soil quality.

Examples of violations

Consequences: significant

The ILT assesses the potential consequences of a violation as 'significant' if there is a high risk that the violation will cause social unrest. Other possible causes are damage to the environment, damage to nature, water pollution, death, illnesses or injuries. This applies to humans, plants and animals.

A 'significant' risk is still a consideration when the offender has not necessarily directly caused environmental damage. Without recourse, however, the activity may cause deterioration in soil quality or an illegal discharge into the soil or the sewer. For example, when a distributor supplies biocides to users not specified in the authorisation.

Examples of violations

Consequences: less significant

The ILT assesses the possible consequences of the offence violation as 'less signicant' when there is limited risk that the violation will cause social unrest, damage to the environment, death, illness or injury. For example, when an organisation using biocides does not keep proper administrative records.

Examples of violations

Consequences: almost insignificant

The ILT will assesses the possible consequences of the a violation as 'almost insignificant' when the violation is of a purely administrative or procedural nature with no consequences for the natural environment and living environment. For example, a minor label error or an advertisement for a biocide without the mandatory directions and disclaimer clearly displayed.

Examples of violations

Behaviour: Well-meaning

The ILT assesses an offender’s behaviour as 'well-meaning' when a violation occurs unintentionally, when the offender is inclined to follow the rules and makes attempts to remedy the violation of their own accord.

Examples of violations

Behaviour: reactive

The ILT assesses an offender behaviour as 'reactive’ when the offender is indifferent in their attitude, or does not take active steps to correct the violation. The offender does not take much notice of the public interest, with the consequences of the violation not being of much concern. For example, an entrepreneur who started trading in hand disinfectants without first examining the legislation.

Examples of violations

Behaviour: calculating

The ILT assesses an offender’s behaviour as 'calculating/opportunistic' when an offender deliberately obstructs the ILT inspector. The offender is aware of the consequences of their behaviour and is aware of the substantial likelihood that these consequences may eventually occur. For example, if a company has deliberately waited for an ILT inspector to arrive only then to act.

Examples of violations

Behaviour: notorious / criminal

The ILT assesses an offender's behaviour as 'notorious/criminal' when the offender is knowingly not abiding by the rules, is part of a criminal organisation or engages in fraud, deceit or money laundering. For example, by falsifying certificates, analysis statements, reports or deliberately withholding information.

Examples of violations

Possible interventions

What does each measure entail?