On the 7th of September 2017, Mary-Ann Schreurs, alderman of design, culture and sustainability in Eindhoven, has officially handed out a single, new environmental permit for the entire TU/e Campus. Whereas the companies on the TU/e Campus currently possesses a variety of environmental permits for their own activities, this new single permit construction is expected to save a lot of time and administrative burden for both the municipality, the university and it’s residents. In this article, environmental consultant Erica Rugebregt explains how the Environment, Health & Safety team of Philips Innovation Services and the TU/e joint forces to obtain this new permit and the foundation of the Cooperative Environmental Association.
What is the current permit situation?
At this point the TU/e Campus holds several environmental permits that are obtained for specific activities or parts of the organization. This means that changes in the organization or organizational activities that could be environmentally relevant need to be reviewed in light of each of the existing environmental permits. As you can imagine, this forms an administrative burden on the side of TU/e Campus residents, as well as the TU/e. On the other hand is the municipality of Eindhoven responsible for reviewing and awarding these permits. This complex organisation of the permits often prevents researchers to deliver fast results as they have to wait for the relevant permit before being able to start new work.
How is the permit situation improved?
Having experienced similar challenges in the past on the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, our Environment, Health & Safety team was asked by TU/e department Arbo, Milieu, Veiligheid en Straling (AMVS) to work together to improve the current process and help TU/e Campus to obtain a single environmental permit.
For the High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE), we developed a Cooperative Environmental Association, which is an organization that holds and manages a single environmental permit for all activities on the HTCE. This could be an ideal solution for TU/e Campus as well. After consulting the municipality of Eindhoven, TU/e and Philips Innovation Services got in touch with the other TU/e Campus stakeholders Fontys and DIFFER, to create a process that fits the needs of all inhabitants of TU/e Campus. This led to the development of a new Cooperative Environmental Association for TU/e Campus, which is soon able to obtain and manage the single environmental permit for all activities on campus.
How does this Cooperative Environmental Association work?
On the 1st of June 2017 TU/e, Fontys and DIFFER created the Cooperative Environmental Association. This new association, named CVM (TU/e Campus), will be able to obtain and manage the single environmental permit for all campus’ activities. CVM will set-up a management system and awards (partial) permits to TU/e campus inhabitants such as companies and faculties. Subsequently, employees of the department Arbo, Milieu, Veiligheid en Straling (AMVS) will support CVM with environmental expertise. We will continue to support AMVS with new environmental developments, audits and management procedures.
Can you explain the main advantages of this way of working?
This new way of working provides a much better overview of all environmentally relevant activities on the campus. Because of the bigger, flexible permit, changes in the operation can be accommodated/legalized more quickly. Future organizations who inhabit the TU/e Campus directly fall under this umbrella permit and can settle on short term.