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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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Presentation Transcript
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.
Factors influencing quality of life…
  • Socio-economic standing
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Health
  • Access to services
  • Human dignity
  • Environmental Quality
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
EIA in South Africa: Provincial capacity
  • 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.
eia applications september 1997 to june 2006
EIA Applications – September 1997 to June 2006
  • 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
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
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.
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
new additions
New additions
  • 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
environmental management framework
Environmental Management Framework
  • 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
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.
sector guidelines31
Sector guidelines
  • 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
class applications33
Class applications
  • One application and process for many different activities occurring in one geographical area


  • One application and process for the same activity type proposed to take place in different locations
Basic Assessment Process
  • 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
Scoping and EIA (Thorough Assessment Process)
  • 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
NEMA EIA Regulations came into effect for all activities except 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
  • 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.
the plan
The plan
  • 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
progress with implementation of the 2006 eia regulations
Progress with implementation of the 2006 EIA Regulations
  • 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)
expedite processing of the 5 955
Expedite processing of the 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)
2 strategic spatial tools to compliment eia
2. Strategic Spatial Tools to compliment EIA
  • 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
3 build and maintain human resource capacity
3. Build and maintain human resource capacity
  • 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.
4 develop and implement decision support tools and systems
4. Develop and implement decision-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
5 develop and implement province specific and generic capacity support interventions
5. Develop and implement province 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
environmental impact management strategy
Environmental Impact Management Strategy
  • 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.