The Review of the EIA system of South Africa
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The Review of the EIA system of South Africa. Structure of the presentation. Elements of the presentation: Setting the context for the EIA system Introducing the 2006 EIA Regulations Explaining the 5 point plan towards more efficient and effective EIA

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Structure of the presentation

  • Elements of the presentation:

    • Setting the context for the EIA system

    • Introducing the 2006 EIA Regulations

    • Explaining the 5 point plan towards more efficient and effective EIA

    • Report on progress with implementation of the 5 point plan.


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Factors influencing quality of life…

  • Socio-economic standing

  • Employment

  • Education

  • Health

  • Access to services

  • Human dignity

  • Environmental Quality


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Environmental quality

  • Environmental quality is improved and protected via proactive and reactive measures:

    • Proactive

      • Prevention of degradation and conservation

      • Tools – Strategic Planning, Environmental Impact Assessment.

    • Reactive

      • Rehabilitation of degraded areas, Reduction of emissions and effluent, clean-up

      • Tools – NEMA sector Acts, Water legislation, Compliance and Enforcement.


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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Systematic process to identify potential positive and negative impacts on the environment (biophysical, socio-economic, cultural) associated with proposed activity.

  • Examine alternatives / management measures to minimise negative and optimise positive consequences.

  • Prevent substantial detrimental to the environment


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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Advantages of EIA

    • To authorities:

      • Informed decision making;

      • Improvement / protection of environmental quality;

      • Management to sustainable utilisation of resources;

      • Understanding demands on bulk services, waste management services, urban forms, etc.


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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Advantages of EIA (cont)

    • To interested and affected parties

      • An opportunity to be heard;

      • Protecting environmental rights;

      • Utilisation of local and indigenous knowledge;

      • Increased knowledge and environmental awareness


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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Advantages of EIA (cont)

    • To undertakers of identified activities (developers):

      • Proactively asking the right questions

        • Adequacy of natural resources

        • Risks associated with environmental factors (geologic stability, hydrology regimes, fire, etc)

        • Pollution potential and prevention thereof;

      • Energy and water saving and associated financial savings

      • Appropriateness of activity in terms of strategic planning for the area


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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • EIA in its design is aimed at informing project planning and design – unfortunately, mostly use to justify what is already planned instead.



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EIA in South Africa: September 1997 – July 2006 The “old” system

  • EIA became law in 1997, before then, voluntary use of EIA.

  • Concurrent function between national and provincial government.

  • Survey conducted in April 2006 and updated in July 2006 to establish status quo of implementation of 1997 Regulations


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EIA in South Africa: Provincial capacity 2006 The “old” system

  • Figures obtained from EIA authorities indicate:

    • Provinces’ capacity and resources vary significantly

    • In some cases resources are commensurate with EIA load, however in other provinces this is not the case

    • Limited funding for developing information systems and other tools to assist both authorities and applicants is of particular concern.


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EIA Applications – September 1997 to June 2006 2006 The “old” system

  • In the order of 44 000 applications received

  • DEAT received the least (1% of total) and Gauteng the most (30% of total)

  • At the end of June 2006

    • these Regulations were repealed

    • 5 955 applications pending


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EIA in South Africa: Processing times

  • Whilst approximately 50% of applications are finalised within 6 months from the application date and an addition 33% within a year, it is of concern that approximately 9% is only finalised within a period of 2 years or more

  • Although often related to complexity, controversy and pollution potential, delay in review and decision making processes also in cases due to severe capacity constraints within provincial authorities



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Review of the South Africa EIA system: The need for a review

  • Lessons learnt through implementation of the 1997 EIA Regulations and evolution of Environmental Legislation since 1997 necessitated the review of the EIA System.


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Review of the South Africa EIA system: The need for a review

  • Inadequacies of 1997 Regulations include.

    • Wide interpretation of activities resulting in inconsistent application by authorities

    • To many small scale / insignificant activities made subject to EIA

    • Lengthy and inflexible process, with to many “authority stops” / “decision points”

    • Inadequate provisions for public consultation

    • Not aligned with PAJA and PAIA

    • Not supported by strategic planning tools

    • Enforcement measures generally weak

  • The Review commenced in 2000 and resulted in the promulgation of new Regulations in terms of the NEMA during April 2006


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The NEMA EIA Regulations The need for a review



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What is new … The need for a review


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New additions The need for a review

  • Exclusions based on

    • Policies and guidelines

    • Environmental Management Frameworks

  • Compliance and enforcement strengthened

  • Regulation 6 allowing for cooperation agreements between authorities

  • Site Environmental Management Plans structured

  • Class applications



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Environmental Management Framework The need for a review

  • Regulations prescribe process for compiling EMF and set minimum requirements for content

  • Strategic tool where a geographical area is assessed:

    • Status quo study in terms of inter alia biophysical environment, built environment and “planned” environment

    • Desired state of environment defined

    • Road map established to reach and maintain desired SOE


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  • EMF consist of “environmental control zones”; environmental management plan and environmental management policy

  • Certain pre-determined activities when aligned with control zones, EMP and EM Policy are then excluded from EIA requirements

  • EMF also useful as environmental input into SDF’s, precinct plans, etc.


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Sector guidelines environmental management plan and environmental management policy


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Sector guidelines environmental management plan and environmental management policy

  • Regulations prescribe process for compiling and publication of Sector guidelines

  • Sector guidelines are given teeth – applicants have to take it into consideration

  • Sector guidelines can also be used for exclusions


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Class applications environmental management plan and environmental management policy


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Class applications environmental management plan and environmental management policy

  • One application and process for many different activities occurring in one geographical area

    OR

  • One application and process for the same activity type proposed to take place in different locations


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The processes and time frames associated with it environmental management plan and environmental management policy


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Basic Assessment Process environmental management plan and environmental management policy

  • Activities contained in Listing Notice 1 are subject to a basic assessment process

  • Smaller scale activities

  • Predicted impacts are generally known and can be easily managed

  • Will be further limited through exclusions

  • Approximately 70% of all EIA applications subject to this process

  • Total authority time = 55 calender days


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Scoping and EIA process (thorough process) environmental management plan and environmental management policy


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Scoping and EIA (Thorough Assessment Process) environmental management plan and environmental management policy

  • Activities contained in Listing Notice 2 are subject to a thorough assessment process

  • Activities that due to nature and/or extent is likely to have significant impacts

  • Associated with high levels of pollution / waste / environmental degradation

  • Impacts cannot easily be predicted

  • Higher risk activities

  • Total authority time: Scoping - 45 Days, EIA 105- days


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Implementation of the NEMA EIA Regulations environmental management plan and environmental management policy


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  • NEMA EIA Regulations came into effect for all activities environmental management plan and environmental management policyexcept for those related to mining permits, licenses and permission on 3 July 2006

  • Mining related activities will come into effect at a later date due to

    • Required law reform

    • Development of cooperation structures and systems

    • System reform

  • Transitional arrangements provided for transition between 1997 EIA System and NEMA EIA System



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Introduction South Africa

  • In April 2006 DEAT adopted a five point plan to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the EIA system

  • The implementation of this plan together with the new EIA system (2006 Regulations) subsequently improved EIA management significantly.


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The plan South Africa

  • The plan focuses on the following areas:

    • Expedite the processing of pending applications submitted in terms of the 1997 Regulations (the 5 955);

    • Develop and implement strategic spatial systems to compliment EIA;

    • Build and maintain adequate EIA administration capacity;

    • Develop and implement decision support tools; and

    • Develop and implement capacity and support strategies



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Progress with implementation of the 2006 EIA Regulations South Africa

  • Figures obtained from the January 2008 Quarterly reports from EIA authorities, indicate:

    • XXXX new applications were received

    • 95% of these applications are being processed within prescribed time frames (or faster).

  • Number of applications per quarter less than in 1997 Regs (succeeded in reduction of number of applications)

  • Problems have however been identified and DEAT commenced with an amendment process that will be concluded in July 2008 (dependent on NEMA process)



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Expedite processing of South Africathe 5,955

  • Contracts to the amount of R11,3M have been awarded to service providers to assist provinces with processing of these applications

  • Between 1 July 2006 and 31 December 2007 pending applications were reduced to XXXX(from 5,859)


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2. Strategic Spatial Tools to compliment EIA South Africa

  • Environmental Management Frameworks:

    • DEAT is providing financial and technical assistance in the development of 7 Environmental Management Frameworks for municipal areas under development pressure

    • Gauteng and the Western Cape have also embarked on the development of EMFs.

    • At the end of 2008-2009 a total of 15 EMFs will be in place.

  • Identification of sensitive area:

    • DEAT has commenced with the process to identify and map all sensitive areas of national importance

    • Gauteng, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga have also embarked on processes to identify and map sensitive areas of provincial importance

    • All these processes to be concluded in 2008-2009


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3. Build and maintain human resource capacity South Africa

  • Tender awarded for project to conduct capacity audit and needs analysis – project to be finalised at the end of March 2008

  • Draft guideline for optimum structure will be work-shopped with provincial authorities in May 2008. It will then be submitted to the DPSA for further processing.

  • 14 Training sessions on the new EIA Regulations conducted

  • The development and roll-out of accredited training on EIA administration is on track. Training will be rolled out before end of April 2008.


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4. Develop and implement South Africadecision-support tools and systems

  • Procedural Guidelines:

    • 4 Guidelines have been developed by DEAT and are available on the DEAT website

    • “The Companion” to the 2007 EIA Regulations (“dummy” guide) has been finalised

    • Publication delayed due to the amendment process

  • Sector Guidelines:

    • DEAT appointed a service provider to assist with the development of identified sector guidelines and work is progressing according to plan.

  • Templates, forms and pro-forma letters

    • Have been developed, distributed to all EIA authorities and are being implemented

  • National Environmental Authorisation System (NEAS)

    • This web-based system to record and track all EIA applications have been developed and is currently being tested by provincial and national authorities

    • It will be fully implemented by the end of April 2008

    • Applicants and I&APs will be able to access information from this system via the DEAT website by March 2009


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5. Develop and implement South Africaprovince specific and generic capacity & support interventions

  • Capacity audit and needs analysis will inform this work in future

  • Quarterly implementation workshops conducted to assist provinces with interpretation and application of the new Regulations

  • DEAT provide written response on all interpretation queries

  • Strategy for stakeholder capacitation initiated



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Environmental Impact Management Strategy South Africa

  • In 2008-2009 DEAT together with provincial partners will embark on development of comprehensive EIM strategy and action plan

  • Objectives of the strategy will be to:

    • Further rationalise the use of EIA

    • Promote of self-regulation

    • Integration of EIM in other legislative processes

    • Management through norms and standard

    • Where appropriate, replacement of EIA with more appropriate tools such as risk assessment (RA); cost benefit analysis (CBA); sustainability assessments (SA); etc.


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Thank you South Africa


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