Court of Audit background report on tradable rights and the environment

‘Tradable rights’ is the name given to permits granted by the government to private companies to do something, up to a given limit, that is harmful to the environment. This may mean emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), producing manure or catching large quantities of marine fish. The companies holding such permits are entitled to sell them to other companies.

The Netherlands Court of Audit recently performed a study of tradable rights as a policy tool and is today publishing a background report entitled Verhandelbare rechten en milieu (‘Tradable rights and the environment’). Although the report does not set out the Court’s views on the way in which the Dutch government makes use of tradable rights, it describes, by answering a number of basic questions, the conditions that need to be put in place in order for a system of tradable rights to function effectively. The report can thus be used as a guide by parliamentarians and policy-makers who wish to use tradable rights as a policy tool. For instance, the renewal of the European system of CO2 emission rights is currently under debate. Similarly, the issue of the prolongation of animal rights for pigs and poultry, and the introduction of dairy cattle rights, have both arisen in the debate on the future shape of the Dutch manure policy.

Note for editors

Further information may be obtained from our press officer, Ms Wietske de Jong-Keetman (tel. 0031-70-342 43 44 or 0031-6 11 92 50 34). A Dutch version of the report is available on our website ( You can also obtain a copy of the report by calling the following number: 0031-70-342 44 00.