The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) was established by law on 17 January 2012. It represents an amalgamation of the Council for the Rural Area, the Advisory Council for Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Council for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, and the Hazardous Substances Council of the Netherlands, which now cease to exist as separate bodies.
The Council exists to advise the government and parliament on the main outlines of policy which affects the sustainable development of the human environment and national infrastructure. The policy domains in which it is active are therefore those of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EL&I) and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). About the Council.
The decision to merge the four former councils was based on a desire to promote the sustainable development of the human environment and infrastructure in the most efficient manner possible. The new Council’s added value lies in its ability to explore, review, support and, where necessary, criticize the relevant policy and decision-making processes. All Council activities and advisory reports are based on a fully integrated approach to the issues. The legislative framework within the Council operates is provided by theKaderwet adviescolleges (Advisory Boards Framework Act).
In 2007, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Guusje ter Horst, issued a memorandum which proposed reducing the number of governmental advisory bodies to form five ‘policy clusters’ whose advice would thus be more integrated. This proposal prompted a broad discussion about the future of the advisory and knowledge infrastructure. In 2008, the government implemented the proposal to create a limited number of advisory councils which would work in a more dynamic setting. Although they would produce fewer advisory reports each year, those reports would have higher strategic relevance and the new insights they present would have a greater impact on the political and social debate.