FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

GENERAL

  1. What activities require Environmental Authorisation?
  2. How and where is an Environmental Authorisation obtained?
  3. What is the difference between Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA?
  4. Who is involved in an Application for Environmental Authorisation?
  5. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Applicant/Developer?
  6. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Competent Authority?
  7. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant?
  8. What are the roles and responsibilities of an Interested and Affected Party?
  9. An Exemption was granted and no-one contacted me even though I live next door. What can I do?
  10. The Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the listed activity is proposed? Can the Applicant still proceed with an Application for Environmental Authorisation?
  11. I gave an Applicant/Developer permission to undertake an activity on my land but he is doing something other than what he told me he was going to do. What can I do?
  12. The Consultant has a definite business, personal or financial interest in the activity/Application in respect of which he has been appointed. I thought the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant must be objective?
  13. I am of the opinion that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not objective, what can I do?
  14. Whose responsibility is it to initiate and drive the EIA process?
  15. The Applicant/Developer is undertaking two or more activities as part of the same development. Does he need two or more Applications?
  16. The Applicant/Developer intends to build the same development at several locations. Can she submit one Application for all the projects?
  17. I have 14 days to submit comments on the report and Day 14 is Wednesday the 9th of August which is Woman's Day and therefore a Public Holiday. Can I submit my comments on the Thursday instead?
  18. Last year an Applicant/Developer was denied permission to build a project and now he is resubmitting essentially the same proposal. Can he do that?
  19. My neighbour can't read or write but wants to participate in the EIA process for a development near his home. What can he do?

Q: What activities require Environmental Authorisation?

Activities that are listed either in Listing 1 or in Listing 2 require Environmental Authorisation before commencement.

Q: How and where is an Environmental Authorisation obtained?

Application for authorisation to commence with a listed activity must be made to the Competent Authority, which decides whether to grant authorisation or to refuse it. Depending on the type of activity, the Application for authorisation must either be subjected to a Basic Assessment or the more thorough Scoping and EIA. Provision is also made for an Applicant to apply to the Competent Authority and request to be exempted fom any provision of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

Q: What is the difference between Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA?

Basic Assessment is the environmental assessment applied to activities listed in Listing 1. These are smaller scale activities, the impacts of which are generally known and can be easily managed. Typically, these activities are considered less likely to have significant environmental impacts and, therefore, do not require a full-blown and detailed Environmental Impact Assessment.

A Basic Assessment Report is a more concise analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed activity than Scoping EIA Reports. However, Basic Assessment still requires public notice and participation, consideration of the potential environmental impacts of the activity, assessment of possible mitigation measures, and an assessment of whether there are any significant issues or impacts that might require further investigation. The Basic Assessment Report must provide the Competent Authority with enough information to consider the Application and to reach a decision. If the Competent Authority is unable to decide based on Basic Assessment Report alone, the Competent Authority may request an Applicant to subject the proposed activity to the more thorough Scoping and EIA process.

Scoping and EIA requires a thorough environmental assessment for activities contained in Listing 2. Listing 2 are those activities that (due to their nature and/or extent) are likely to have significant impacts that cannot be easily predicted. They are therefore higher risk activities that are associated with potentially higher levels of pollution, waste and environmental degradation.

A Scoping Report (including Plan of Study) requires a description of the proposed activity and any feasible and reasonable alternatives, a description of the property and the environment that may be affected and the manner in which the biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of the environment may be impacted upon by the proposed activity; description of environmental issues and potential impacts, including cumulative impacts that have been identified, and details of the public participation process undertaken. In addition, a Scoping Report must contain a roadmap for an Environmental Impact Assessment, referred to as the Plan of Study for the EIA, specifying the methodology to be used to assess the potential impacts, and the specialists or specialist reports that will be necessary.

An Applicant may only conduct an EIA after the Competent Authority has approved the Scoping Report and the Plan of Study for the EIA.

The Scoping and EIA Process culminates in the development and submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Draft Environmental Management Plan to the Competent Authority.

Q: Who is involved in an Application for Environmental Authorisation?

The Applicant/Developer; the Competent Authority; the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and Interested and Affected Parties.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Applicant/Developer?

Must appoint an Environmental Assessment Practitioner to manage the Application;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner and Competent Authority with access to all available information relevant to the Application;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner and Competent Authority with access to all the relevant information;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner with truthful information relevant to the proposed identified activity; and

Must pay any costs or fees applicable to the Application.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Competent Authority?

  • Must make decisions on Applications for Environmental Authorisations in accordance with the Regulations;
  • Notify Applicant/Developer of decision, conditions and Appeal provisions;
  • Must comply with the specified timeframes;
  • Must give access to information that may be relevant to the Application;
  • Must give written reasons for decisions;
  • Must enter into written agreements with organs of state with jurisdiction;
  • Must, if applicable, consider and respond to Appeals;
  • May pass national and/or provincial guidelines;
  • May adopt an Environmental Management Framework;
  • May withdraw, amend or suspend an Environmental Authorisation;
  • Must make decisions in an open and transparent manner;
  • Must request additional information or that further studies be conducted if necessary;
  • Must give reasons for the decision to the Applicant; and
  • Must give reasonable assistance to a person who is unable to participate as a result of illiteracy, disability or any other disadvantage.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant?

  • Must ascertain whether the Basic Assessment or Scoping and EIA Application process should be followed;
  • Must be independent and objective;
  • Must have expertise in conducting Environmental Impact Assessments;
  • Must disclose any information that may affect the Competent Authority's decision;
  • Must take any relevant national and/or provincial guidelines into consideration; and
  • Must manage the Application process, by -
    • giving notice, in writing, of the proposed activity to any organ of state with jurisdiction in respect of any aspect of the activity
    • compiling the relevant reports
    • submitting required documentation to Competent Authority
    • If applicable amend reports and or provide additional information upon Competent Authority's request
    • notifying Interested and Affected Party of the Competent Authority's decision and Appeal provisions
    • conducting at least basic public participation -
      • arrange the required public participation activities
      • provide adequate time for public participation
      • provide Interested and Affected Parties with information that will enable them to participate
      • keep a register of Interested and Affected Parties and record their inputs
      • consider and record all objections and representations received from Interested and Affected Parties
      • provide Interested and Affected Parties with an opportunity to comment on all reports

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of an Interested and Affected Party?

  • May participate in the Application process;
  • May comment on any written communication submitted to the Competent Authority;
  • Must comment within the specified/agreed timeframes;
  • Must send copies of any comments to the Applicant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant if submitted directly to Competent Authority;
  • Must disclose any interest in Application being granted or refused; and
  • May Appeal a final decision.

Q: An Exemption was granted and no-one contacted me even though I live next door. What can I do?

The Competent Authority can withdraw or amend an Exemption. You must notify the Competent Authority that your rights and interests were affected and describe your objection to the Exemption or project.

You can also lodge an Appeal against the decision within the appropriate timeframe.

Q: The Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the listed activity is proposed? Can the Applicant still proceed with an Application for Environmental Authorisation?

Yes.

If the Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the activity is to be undertaken, the Applicant/Developer must obtain written consent of the landowner to undertake the activity. This written consent must be submitted to the Competent Authority together with the Application form requesting Environmental Authorisation (both Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA).

However, if the Applicant/Developer proposes to undertake a linear activity, such as a pipeline or a road that possibly runs across more than one landowner's property, he does not need the written consent of the owners, provided that he has given written notice to the owners of the land on which the activity is to be undertaken as soon as the proposed route is identified. Proof of this written notification must be submitted to the Competent Authority together with the Application form requesting Environmental Authorisation (both Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA). If you own the land on which the linear activity is proposed to cross, contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and make sure that you are registered as an Interested and Affected Party and be sure to submit your comments.

Q: I gave an Applicant/Developer permission to undertake an activity on my land but he is doing something other than what he told me he was going to do. What can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority; in writing. The Competent Authority may withdraw an Environmental Authorisation if the authorisation was obtained through fraudulent means, misrepresentation, non-disclosure of material information or if the conditions contained in the authorisation are not adhered to.

Q: The Consultant has a definite business, personal or financial interest in the activity/Application in respect of which he has been appointed. I thought the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant must be objective?

The Regulations require the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to be independent of the Applicant/Developer and perform the work in an objective manner. If you have concerns about the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's independence, raise them with the Competent Authority.

If at any stage the Competent Authority has reason to believe that an Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not independent, it must: notify the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant of the reasons for its belief and afford it the opportunity to make representations to the Competent Authority about his/her independence.

If, after considering the Environmental Assessment Practitioner's comments, it is not convinced that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner is independent, the Competent Authority may refuse to accept any further reports or input from the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Earlier reports may have to be redone.

Q: I am of the opinion that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not objective, what can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority of your concern and provide any evidence that you may have to support your allegation. If an Environmental Authorisation has already been obtained you can Appeal the decision.

Q: Whose responsibility is it to initiate and drive the EIA process?

The Applicant/Developer is responsible for initiating the EIA process by appointing an Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to manage the EIA process. However, although the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant carries out the EIA work, the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the EIA laws are fully complied with rests with the Applicant/Developer as it is his or her project.

Q: The Applicant/Developer is undertaking two or more activities as part of the same development. Does he need two or more Applications?

No. The Applicant/Developer can submit a single Application on one Application form that contains information about all activities.

Q: The Applicant/Developer intends to build the same development at several locations. Can she submit one Application for all the projects?

In general separate Applications must be submitted for each location even if they are to be undertaken in the same province. However, the Competent Authority may, at written request of the Applicant/Developer, grant permission for the submission of a single Application on one Application form. If this permission is granted, the process may be consolidated but the potential of the environmental impacts of each activity must be considered in terms of each separate location.

Q: I have 14 days to submit comments on the report and Day 14 is Wednesday the 9th of August which is Woman's Day and therefore a Public Holiday. Can I submit my comments on the Thursday instead?

When calculating a period of time beginning with a decision you received on, for example, a Wednesday, count the following day i.e. the Thursday, as day one and then count each day thereafter. However if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Public holiday, the time period is extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Public holiday. So if the day your comments have to be submitted therefore falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Public holiday, you only have to submit your comments on the first working day thereafter. You can therefore submit your comments on the Thursday, which will be the first working day after the Public holiday.

Q: Last year an Applicant/Developer was denied permission to build a project and now he is resubmitting the essentially same proposal. Can he do that?

Maybe. An Applicant/Developer is not permitted to submit an Application that is substantially similar to a previous Application by the Applicant/Developer which has been refused unless the Application contains new or material information not previously submitted. The Applicant/Developer can however submit the same Application after a period of three years has elapsed.

Q: My neighbour can't read or write but wants to participate in the EIA process for a development near his home. What can he do?

The Competent Authority processing an Application or an Appeal must give reasonable assistance to a person who wishes to object to the Application or lodge an Appeal against a decision if that person is unable to do so himself due to illiteracy, disability, or any other disadvantage. Therefore notify the Competent Authority of his illiteracy and request assistance.


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

  1. Am I an Interested and Affected Party?
  2. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not identify me as an Interested and Affected Party but I want to participate. What can I do?
  3. Can I find out who else is interested in the project?
  4. What are the Minimum Requirements for the Public Participation process?
  5. What are the requirements for placing a notice on a notice board?
  6. I am registered as an Interested and Affected Party. At a public participation meeting the Consultant ignored my questions/objections, what can I do?
  7. As an Interested and Affected Party what information am I entitled to?
  8. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not complying with the minimum requirements for the public participation process, what can I do?
  9. One of the Interested and Affected Parties has a financial interest in the development. Is she allowed to comment?
  10. What do I do when the municipality or Applicant/Developer tries to block me from the process or does not communicate with concerned parties?
  11. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant failed to give the relevant notice. What should I do?
  12. As a registered Interested and Affected Party, what reports am I entitled to comment on?
  13. I returned from a trip overseas to find a listed activity being undertaken on the property adjacent to mine. What can I do?
  14. Development has commenced on a site near my house, I want to find out whether the Applicant/Developer has the necessary Environmental Authorisation to proceed with construction, what do I do?
  15. I return from December holiday only to find a notice informing me that an Applicant/Developer has made Application to be exempted from performing an Environmental Impact Assessment. The objection period given in the notice has already expired. I want to object, what can I do?

Q: Am I an Interested and Affected Party?

The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant managing the Application must give written notice of the proposed activity to -
  1. the owners and occupiers of land adjacent to the site where the activity is to be undertaken and any alternative sites.
  2. the owners and occupiers of land within 100 metres of the boundary of the site and alternative sites who are or may be directly affected by the activity.
  3. the municipal councilor of the ward in which the site or alternative site is situated and any organisation of ratepayers that represent the community in the area.
  4. the municipality which has jurisdiction in the area;
  5. any organ of state having jurisdiction over any aspect of the activity.

In addition, any other individual or groups can register as an Interested and Affected Party. The Applicant/Developer or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant must open and maintain a register of names and addresses of: all persons who as a result of the basic public participation process have submitted written comments or attended meetings with the Applicant/Developer or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant; all persons who have completed, in writing, the relevant public participation process request form; and all organs of state with jurisdiction.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not identify me as an Interested and Affected Party but I want to participate. What can I do?

Contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and ask that you be added to the project register. Alternatively, you can attend a public meeting or submit comments to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and you will be registered as an Interested and Affected Party.

Q: Can I find out who else is interested in the project?

Yes. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is required to give access to the register to any person who submits a written request for access.

Q: What are the Minimum Requirements for the Public Participation process?

The person conducting the public participation must:
  1. give notice of the Application to all interested and affected parties by fixing a notice board at a conspicuous place at the boundary or fence of the site (or an alternative site);
  2. give written notice to the owners and occupiers of land adjacent to the site where the activity is to be undertaken (or any alternative site); the owners and occupiers within 100 metres of the boundary of the site who may be affected by the activity; the municipal councillor of the ward in which the site is located; the municipality and any organ of state which has jurisdiction.
  3. place an advertisement in one local paper or any official Gazette that is published specifically for the purpose of providing public notice of Applications.
  4. place an advertisement in at least one provincial newspaper or national newspaper if the activity may have an impact extending beyond the boundaries of the metropolitan area or local municipality.
  5. open and maintain a register of interested and affected parties.
  6. provide registered interested and affected parties with the opportunity to comment on all written submissions made to the Competent Authority.

The person conducting the public participation must ensure that information containing all relevant facts about the Application is made available to the Interested and Affected Parties and that the participation of Interested and Affected Parties is made easy so that they are provided with a reasonable opportunity to comment on the Application.

Q: What are the requirements for placing a notice on a notice board?

The notice of the Application must be on a notice board set in a place conspicuous to the public at the boundary or fence of the site. The notice, notice board or advertisement must be at least 60cm by 42 cm and display the required information in lettering at least 6mm in height.

Q: I am registered as an Interested and Affected Party. At a public participation meeting the Consultant ignored my questions/objections, what can I do?

Submit your questions/objections in writing to the Consultant and send a copy to the Competent Authority informing the Competent Authority that you asked these questions at the meeting but the Consultant failed to answer you.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Pracitioner/Consultant.

Q: As an Interested and Affected Party what information am I entitled to?

A registered Interested and Affected Party is entitled to comment on all written submissions made to the Competent Authority by the Applicant/Developer or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and to bring to the attention of the Competent Authority any issues which the party believes may be of significance in considering the Application.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not complying with the minimum requirements for the public participation process, what can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority, in writing, of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's failure.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Pracitioner/Consultant.

Q: One of the Interested and Affected Parties has a financial interest in the development. Is she allowed to comment?

Yes, as long as her interest is disclosed. Each Interested and Affected Party must disclose any direct business, financial, personal or other interest that the person may have in the approval or disapproval of the Application.

Q: What do I do when the municipality or Applicant/Developer tries to block me from the process or does not communicate with concerned parties?

If you feel that the municipality or the Applicant/Developer is attempting to block you from the process or is not properly communicating with Interested and Affected Parties about the project, go to the provincial authority with your concerns. If the provincial authority is unresponsive, contact the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Pracitioner/Consultant.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant failed to give the relevant notice. What should I do?

Notify the Competent Authority, in writing, with the specifics of the lack of notice.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Pracitioner/Consultant.

Q: As a registered Interested and Affected Party, what reports am I entitled to comment on?

You are entitled to comment on the following reports:
  1. Basic Assessment Reports;
  2. Basic Assessment Reports amended upon Competent Authority's request and resubmitted;
  3. Scoping Reports (including plan of study for EIA);
  4. Scoping Reports amended upon Competent Authority's request and resubmitted;
  5. Environmental Impact Assessment Reports;
  6. Draft Environmental Management Plans; and
  7. any final report submitted by a specialist reviewer where the contents of that report include substantive information that has not been previously made available to the registered Interested and Affected Party.

Any written comments that you submit to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant, within the specified/agreed/extended timeframes, must accompany the report when the report is submitted by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to the Competent Authority.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant.

Q: I returned from a trip overseas to find a listed activity being undertaken on the property adjacent to mine. What can I do?

The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant or Applicant/Developer was required to notify you. Your property is adjacent to the site and, therefore, you are an Interested and Affected Party even if you didn't register as one. If you were not given notification, contact the Competent Authority and inform it of the Applicant/Developer's failure to comply with the public participation requirements of the regulations. You may also wish to contact the Applicant/Developer or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and inform them that you wish to participate in the process and ask for any documents (i.e. Basic Assessment Report etc.) that have been produced. If the EIA process is still on-going, you can participate from now on. However, if the EIA process has been completed in your absence, you should determine if your rights have been violated and if you wish to proceed with a lawsuit.

If the Environmental Assessment Practitioner sent you the proper notices but you failed to receive them because you were out of the country, you can participate in the remainder of the process, if any. Otherwise you should attempt to contact the Competent Authority and see if they can assist you by making changes to the authorisation to reduce the impact on your property.

Q: Development has commenced on a site near my house, I want to find out whether the Applicant/Developer has the necessary Environmental Authorisation to proceed with construction, what do I do?

Contact the Competent Authority and provide them with the site location or any other relevant information you have and ask if the Applicant/Developer has the relevant Environmental Authorisation.

Q: I return from December holiday only to find a notice informing me that an Applicant/Developer has made Application to be exempted from performing an Environmental Impact Assessment. The objection period given in the notice has already expired. I want to object, what can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority of your objection as soon as possible and explain the reasons for the lateness of your objection.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant.

BASIC ASSESSMENT

  1. When should an activity be subjected to the Basic Assessment process?
  2. An Applicant/Developer intends to undertake an activity listed in Listing 1 and therefore has to apply the Basic Assessment process. Can the Applicant/Developer however skip the Basic Assessment process and proceed directly to Scoping and EIA?
  3. What is the first thing the Applicant/Developer must do when conducting a Basic Assessment?
  4. What information has to be contained in a Basic Assessment Report?
  5. What must a Basic Assessment Report take into account?
  6. Where and when do I submit my comments on the Basic Assessment Report?
  7. What documents must be submitted with the Application form requesting Environmental Authorisation for an activity listed in Listing 1 and therefore has to be subjected to the Basic Assessment process?
  8. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not include my comments in the Basic Assessment Report he submitted to the Competent Authority. What do I do?
  9. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant submitted the Basic Assessment Report to the Competent Authority without giving me a chance to comment on it - what do I do?
  10. The Basic Assessment Report I commented on differs substantially from the report submitted to the Competent Authority. What can I do?
  11. After having considered the Applicant's Application form, together with the relevant annexures, what may the Competent Authority do?
  12. What criteria does the Competent Authority take into account when deciding whether to approve or deny an Application for Environmental Authorisation (whether it is for an Application to authorise an activity listed in listing 1 or 2)?
  13. Will I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation? How and when?
  14. I am not a registered Interested and Affected Party. How can I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation?

Q: When should an activity be subjected to the Basic Assessment process?

If an activity is listed in Listing 1. In addition, the Minister may also identify further activities for which Environmental Authorisation is required in terms of Section 24 D of the National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998, by issuing a notice. The notice will specify which process (Basic Assessment or Scoping and EIA) must be applied in order to obtain the Environmental Authorisation for a specific activity.

Q: An Applicant/Developer intends to undertake an activity listed in Listing 1 and therefore has to apply the Basic Assessment process. Can the Applicant/Developer however skip the Basic Assessment process and proceed directly to Scoping and EIA?

Yes. If the Applicant/Developer believes that it is unlikely that the Competent Authority will be able to reach a decision on the basis of information provided in a Basic Assessment Report, the Applicant/Developer may apply to the Competent Authority for permission to apply the more thorough Scoping and EIA process to the Application.

Q: What is the first thing the Applicant/Developer must do when conducting a Basic Assessment?

Before submitting an Application to the Competent Authority the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant managing the Application must:
  • conduct at least a public participation process;
  • give notice, in writing, of the proposed Application to -
    1. the Competent Authority; and
    2. any organ of state which has jurisdiction in respect of any aspect of the activity;
  • open and maintain a register of all Interested and Affected Parties in;
  • consider all objections and representations received from Interested and Affected Parties following the public participation process conducted, and subject the proposed Application to Basic Assessment by assessing -
    1. the potential impacts of the activity on the environment;
    2. whether and to what extent those impacts can be mitigated; and
    3. whether there are any significant issues and impacts that require further investigation;
  • prepare a Basic Assessment Report; and
  • give all registered Interested and Affected Parties an opportunity to comment on the Basic Assessment Report.

Q: What information has to be contained in a Basic Assessment Report?

The Basic Assessment Report must contain all the information necessary for the Competent Authority to consider the Application and make a decision. The Basic Assessment Report must include:
  • details of -
    1. the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant who prepared the report; and
    2. the expertise of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to carry out Basic Assessment procedures;
  • a description of the proposed activity;
  • a description of the property on which the activity is to be undertaken and the location of the activity on the property, or if it is -
    1. a linear activity, a description of the route of the activity; or
    2. an ocean-based activity, the coordinates within which the activity is to be undertaken;
  • a description of the environment that may be affected by the proposed activity and the manner in which the geographical, physical, biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of the environment may be affected by the proposed activity;
  • an identification of all legislation and guidelines that have been considered in the preparation of the Basic Assessment Report;
  • details of the public participation process conducted in connection with the Application, including -
    1. the steps that were taken to notify potentially Interested and Affected Parties of the proposed Application;
    2. proof that notice boards, advertisements and notices notifying potentially Interested and Affected Parties of the proposed Application have been displayed, placed or given;
  • a list of all persons, organisations and organs of state that were registered as Interested and Affected Parties in relation to the Application; and
  • a summary of the issues raised by Interested and Affected Parties, the date of receipt of and the response of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to those issues;
  • a description of the need and desirability of the proposed activity and any identified alternatives to the proposed activity that are feasible and reasonable, including the advantages and disadvantages that the proposed activity or alternatives will have on the environment and on the community that may be affected by the activity;
  • a description and assessment of the significance of any environmental impacts, including cumulative impacts, that may occur as a result of the undertaking of the activity or identified alternatives or as a result of any construction, erection or decommissioning associated with the undertaking of the activity;
  • any environmental management and mitigation measures proposed by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant;
  • any inputs made by specialists to the extent that may be necessary; and
  • any specific information required by the Competent Authority.

Please consult the DEAT Basic Assessment document for further information.

Q: What must a Basic Assessment Report take into account?

A Basic Assessment Report must take into account -
  • any relevant guidelines; and
  • any practices that have been developed by the Competent Authority in respect of the kind of activity which is the subject of the Application;

Also see the answer to what a Basic Assessment Report must contain.

Q: Where and when do I submit my comments on the Basic Assessment Report?

A registered Interested and Affected Party is entitled to comment on all written submissions. Submit your comments, in writing, to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Comments must be submitted within the time frame approved by the Competent Authority or any extension of time agreed to by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Alternatively, you can submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority. Should you submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority, you however have to send a copy of your comments to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant as well. Any written comments by a registered Interested and Affected Party received by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant, within the timeframe, must accompany the report when it is submitted to the Competent Authority.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Consultant.

Q: What documents must be submitted with the Application form requesting Environmental Authorisation for an activity listed in Listing 1 and therefore has to be subjected to the Basic Assessment process?

The completed Application form has to be submitted together with:
  • the Basic Assessment Report;
  • copies of any representations, objections and comments received in connection with the Application or the basic
  • assessment report;
  • copies of the minutes of any meetings held by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant with Interested and Affected Parties and other role players which record the views of the participants;
  • any responses by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to those representations, objections, comments and views;
  • a declaration of interest by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant on a form provided by the Competent Authority; and
  • the prescribed Application fee, if any, and the written permission of the landowner (if the Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the property), or proof of notification to relevant landowners if Application is for a linear activity.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not include my comments in the Basic Assessment Report he submitted to the Competent Authority. What do I do?

It is the responsibility of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant managing the Application to ensure that the comments of the Interested and Affected Party are recorded in the reports submitted to the Competent Authority. Contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and ask that it correct the Basic Assessment Report. Alternatively, you may submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority as soon as possible, informing the Competent Authority that you are a registered Interested and Affected Party and that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant failed to include your comments. If an Environmental Authorisation was granted based on a Report that did not include comments from registered Interested and Affected Parties, you have the option of Appealing the decision.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Consultant.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant submitted the Basic Assessment Report to the Competent Authority without giving me a chance to comment on it - what do I do?

Inform the Competent Authority as soon as possible, in writing, that you were not given an opportunity to comment although you are an Interested and Affected Party. You can submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority. If you are not registered as an Interested and Affected Party, you should ask the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to add your name to the register so that you will be entitled to comment on any future reports relating to this Application. Contact the Competent Authority to request an opportunity to comment on the Basic Assessment Report. Remember to adhere to the time periods within which to submit your comments. If an Environmental Authorisation was granted based on a Report that did not include comments from registered Interested and Affected Parties, you have the option of Appealing the decision.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant.

Q: The Basic Assessment Report I commented on differs substantially from the report submitted to the Competent Authority. What can I do?

As a registered Interested and Affected Party you are entitled to comment on the Basic Assessment Report that is submitted to the Competent Authority. Contact the Competent Authority as soon as possible, in writing, with the details of the situation. You will want to ask the Competent Authority for additional time to submit comments on the new Basic Assessment Report. If an authorisation was granted based on the Report you can also Appeal the decision.

Q: After having considered the Applicant's Application form, together with the relevant annexures, what may the Competent Authority do?

If the Competent Authority is unable to make decision based on the information submitted by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant on behalf of the Applicant/Developer, the Competent Authority must either request:
  • additional information;
  • the submission of any specialist study or specialised process;
  • the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to suggest, consider or comment on feasible and reasonable alternatives; or
  • that the Application be subjected to Scoping and EIA.

If the Competent Authority is able make a decision on the information submitted, it can either grant or refuse authorisation.

Q: What criteria does the Competent Authority take into account when deciding whether to approve or deny an Application for Environmental Authorisation (whether it is for an Application to authorise an activity listed in listing 1 or 2)?

When considering an Application, the Competent Authority must:
  1. ensure that it complies with the Act, Regulations, and all applicable legislation;
  2. take into account relevant factors, including:
    1. any pollution, environmental impacts or environmental degradation likely to be caused if the Application is approved or refused;
    2. the impact of the environment of the activity and associated operations;
    3. measures that can be taken to protect the environment from harm and to prevent or mitigate any pollution or other environmental impacts;
    4. the ability of the Applicant/Developer to implement mitigation measures and to comply with any conditions imposed on the project;
    5. any feasible and reasonable modifications to the activity that may minimise environmental harm;
    6. any information or maps compiled pursuant to NEMA, including any environmental management frameworks relevant to the Application;
    7. information contained in the Application form, reports, comments, and other documents submitted to the Competent Authority;
    8. any comments from state organs with jurisdiction over any aspect of the activity; and
    9. any guidelines that are relevant to the Application.

Q: Will I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation? How and when?

Once a final decision is made and the Competent Authority has informed the Applicant/Developer of that decision, the Applicant/Developer must provide written notification of the outcome, the reasons for the decision, as well as the fact that an Appeal may be lodged to the decision, to Interested and Affected Parties. The timeframe within which the Applicant/Developer has to provide Interested and Affected Parties with this information will be specified by the Competent Authority in the Environmental Authorisation.

Q: I am not a registered Interested and Affected Party. How can I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation?

Contact the Competent Authority to request a copy of or access to the Environmental Authorisation.You may also make use of the procedures prescribed in the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000.


SCOPING AND EIA

  1. What activities are subject to Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment?
  2. What is the first document to be submitted to the Competent Authority during the Scoping and EIA process?
  3. What reports will the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant have to submit to the Competent Authority?
  4. Where and when do I submit my comments on the reports?
  5. What is the difference between the Scoping Report and the final EIA Report?
  6. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not include my comments in the report to the Competent Authority. What do I do?
  7. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant submitted the report to the Competent Authority without giving me a chance to comment on it - what do I do?
  8. The report I commented on differs substantially from the report submitted to the Competent Authority. What can I do?
  9. The EIA produced by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is inadequate and lacks any real analysis but the Competent Authority has approved the development. What do I do?
  10. What information must be included in the Scoping Report?
  11. What is a specialist report and when will such a report be required?
  12. A specialist report was done. What should I look for in the specialist report?
  13. I have information that there is a red data species present on the proposed site, yet in the specialist report this information is omitted, what can I do?
  14. What criteria does the Competent Authority take into account when deciding whether to approve or deny an Application (whether it is for an activity listed in Listing 1 or Listing 2)?
  15. What does it mean to say that something has a significant impact?
  16. What does it mean to say that something has cumulative impact?
  17. Does the assessment have to take into account both direct and indirect effects? What is the difference?
  18. What does mitigation consist of?
  19. What information must an Environmental Impact (EIA) Report contain?
  20. What is the Draft Management Plan?
  21. Will I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation? How and when?
  22. I am not a registered Interested and Affected Party. How can I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation?
  23. The Competent Authority has issued the Environmental Authorisation and the development is underway but I have new information that was not considered in the process. Can I contact the Competent Authority to have the development stopped?

Q: What activities are subject to Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment?

Activities requiring the more thorough Scoping and an EIA process are listed in Listing 2.

Q: What is the first document to be submitted to the Competent Authority during the Scoping and EIA process?

An Application form together with a declaration of interest by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant on a form provided by the Competent Authority and the prescribed Application fee, if any. Should the Applicant/Developer however not be the owner of the property on which the proposed activity is to be undertaken, the written consent of the owner must also be attached. In the case of a linear activity written proof of notification of all landowners through which the linear activity is proposed to be undertaken, must also be attached.

Q: What reports will the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant have to submit to the Competent Authority?

A Scoping Report and Plan of Study for EIA, upon the Competent Authority's approval of the Scoping Report, including the Plan of Study, the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant will submit an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (including a draft Environmental Management Plan and any specialist reports).

Q: Where and when do I submit my comments on the reports?

A registered Interested and Affected Party is entitled to comment on all written submissions submitted to the Competent Authority by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Submit your comments, in writing, to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Comments must be submitted within the time frame approved by the Competent Authority or any extension of time agreed to by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Alternatively, you can submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority. When submitting your comments directly to the Competent Authority you have to serve a copy thereof on the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Any written comments by a registered Interested and Affected Party received by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant, within the timeframe, must accompany the report when it is submitted to the Competent Authority.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant.

Q: What is the difference between the Scoping report and the final EIA report?

The Scoping Report describes the proposed project and identifies the possible impacts of the proposed development. In addition, the Scoping report must contain a description of the methodology that will be used to assess the potential impacts and any specialist reports that will be necessary, this is called the plan of study for EIA and have to be submitted together with the Scoping report. However, the Scoping report does not include a detailed assessment of the impact of the project on the environment.

The final EIA Report is the comprehensive examination of the issues and impacts identified in the Scoping report. The EIA Report must also contain and Environmental Management Plan that sets forth the Applicant/Developer's proposals for managing the environmental impacts of the project from the planning and design stage through construction and operation to decommissioning. The Plan must contain a detailed description of the activities covered by the Plan and the persons responsible for the implementation of the Plan.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant did not include my comments in the report to the Competent Authority. What do I do?

It is the responsibility of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant managing the Application to ensure that the comments of the Interested and Affected Party are recorded in the reports submitted to the Competent Authority. Contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and ask that it correct the report. Alternatively, you may submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority as soon as possible, informing the Competent Authority that you are a registered Interested and Affected Party and that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant failed to include your comments.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Consultant.

Q: The Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant submitted the report to the Competent Authority without giving me a chance to comment on it - what do I do?

Inform the Competent Authority as soon as possible, in writing, that you were not given an opportunity to comment although you are an Interested and Affected Party. You can submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority.

If you are not registered as an Interested and Affected Party, you should ask the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to add your name to the registry although once the EIA report has been submitted there may be little else to comment on, depending on how the process proceeds. You may contact the Competent Authority to request an opportunity to provide late comments on the report, but the Competent Authority has discretion whether or not to grant your request.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Consultant.

Q: The report I commented on differs substantially from the report submitted to the Competent Authority. What can I do?

As a registered Interested and Affected Party you are entitled to comment on the report that is submitted to the Competent Authority. Contact the Competent Authority as soon as possible, in writing, with the details of the situation. Ask the Competent Authority for additional time to submit comments on the new report.

Always remember to keep a record of your questions/objections and correspondence to the Competent Authority and/or Consultant.

Q: The EIA produced by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is inadequate and lacks any real analysis but the Competent Authority has approved the development. What do I do?

First ask the Competent Authority to reconsider its approval. You will need to submit a written explanation of the problems with the EIA. If the Competent Authority does not reconsider its approval, you can Appeal the decision. Please note that there are time limits on filing an Appeal, so you will have to act quickly.

Q: What information must be included in the Scoping Report?

The Scoping Report must contain all the information necessary for the Competent Authority to consider the Application and make a decision. The Scoping Report must include:
  1. details of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant who prepared the report and the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's skills to carry out the Scoping procedures;
  2. A description of the proposed activity and of any feasible and reasonable alternatives that have been identified;
  3. A description of the property on which the activity is to be undertaken and the location of the property, or if it is a linear activity, a description of the route of the activity, or if it is an ocean-based activity, the coordinates of the activity;
  4. A description of the environment that may be affected by the proposed activity and the manner in which the geographical, physical, biological, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the environment may be affected by the activity;
  5. Identification of all legislation and policy guidelines that have been considered in the preparation of the Scoping Report;
  6. A description of environmental issues and potential impacts, including cumulative impacts;
  7. Information on the methodology that will be adopted in assessing the potential impacts that have been identified, including any specialist studies or specialised processes that will be undertaken;
  8. Details of the public participation process undertaken, including the steps that were taken to notify potentially interested and affected parties of the proposed activity, proof that notice boards, advertisements and notices notifying potentially interested parties were displayed; a list of all persons, organizations, and state organs that were registered as Interested and Affected Parties; a summary of all issues raised by Interested and Affected Parties, the date on which comments were received and the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's response to comments.
  9. A Plan of Study for Environmental Impact Assessment which sets out the proposed approach to the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Application, which must include:
    1. a description of the tasks to be undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, including any specialist reports or specialised processes, and the manner in which such tasks will be undertaken.
    2. An indication of the stages at which the Competent Authority will be consulted;
    3. a description of the proposed method of assessing the environmental issues and alternatives, including the no-go option;
    4. particulars of the public participation process that will be conducted during the Environmental Impact Assessment process.
  10. Any specific information required by the Competent Authority.

Q: What is a specialist report and when will such a report be required?

A specialist report is a study of a particular aspect of the proposal and may be used either to identify issues during Scoping or to respond to issues identified.

Specialist studies are often commissioned on issues such as vegetation, vertebrates, wetlands, biodiversity, fresh water systems, and marine systems, among other things. If you feel that due to the nature of the activity and / or the sensitivity of the area a specialist study is required on a certain aspect, you should suggest this during the Scoping phase. Specialists should have formal training in their field of expertise and should not have any financial or other interest in the project.

Q: A specialist report was done. What should I look for in the specialist report?

Examine the specialist's qualifications to ensure that the specialist is qualified. Also look to see if the specialist has identified any issues of concern and then ask the Applicant/Developer to respond to those concerns.

Q: I have information that there is a red data species present on the proposed site, yet in the specialist report this information is omitted, what can I do?

There are several NGOs, such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust, TRAFFIC, or WESSA that will have information about red data species. Contact an NGO for information. You may also contact the Competent Authority or the Environmental Assessment Practitioner. Be sure however to keep a record of your correspondence.

Q: What criteria does the Competent Authority take into account when deciding whether to approve or deny an Application (whether it is for an activity listed in Listing 1 or Listing 2)?

When considering an Application, the Competent Authority must:
  1. Ensure that it complies with the Act, Regulations, and all applicable legislation;
  2. Take into account relevant factors, including:
    1. any pollution, environmental impacts or environmental degradation likely to be caused if the Application is approved or refused;
    2. the impact of the environment of the activity and associated operations;
    3. measures that can be taken to protect the environment from harm and to prevent or mitigate any pollution or other environmental impacts;
    4. the ability of the Applicant/Developer to implement mitigation measures and to comply with any conditions imposed on the project;
    5. any feasible and reasonable modifications to the activity that may minimise environmental harm;
    6. any information or maps compiled pursuant to NEMA, including any environmental management frameworks relevant to the Application;
    7. information contained in the Application form, reports, comments, and other documents submitted to the Competent Authority;
    8. any comments from state organs with jurisdiction over any aspect of the activity; and
    9. relevant national and provincial policies.

Q: What does it mean to say that something has a significant impact?

The EIA Regulations define a significant impact as an impact that by its magnitude, duration, intensity or probability of occurrence may have a notable effect on one or more aspects of the environment.

An example of a significant impact might be the destruction of a wetland from which rivers provide water for settlements downstream, effectively removing the supply of clean, safe water.

Q: What does it mean to say that something has cumulative impact?

A cumulative impact is the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time. In relation to an activity, it means the impact of an activity that in itself may not be significant may become significant when added to the existing and potential impacts resulting from similar or diverse activities or undertakings in the area.

An example of a cumulative impact might be the effect of housing development on grasslands: one house may in itself have minor effects (on e.g. groundwater replacement), but together with other housing developments in the same area, the impact of these effects increases – in this case the amount of water extraction may exceed groundwater replacement.

Q: Does the assessment have to take into account both direct and indirect effects? What is the difference?

Yes, both must be taken into account. The EIA Regulations do not specifically state that both direct and indirect effects must be considered. Indirect impacts are part of the environmental impacts and, therefore, must be considered if reasonably foreseeable.

Direct effects, are caused by the action and occur at the same time and place.

Indirect effects, are caused by the action and are later in time or further removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable. Indirect effects may include growth inducing effects and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density or growth rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems.

Q: What does mitigation consist of?

Mitigation includes:
  1. Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action.
  2. Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation.
  3. Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment.
  4. Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action.
  5. Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

Q: What information must an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report contain?

The EIA Report must include:
  1. Details of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant who prepared the report and the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's skills to carry out the Scoping procedures;
  2. A description of the proposed activity;
  3. A description of the property on which the activity is to be undertaken and the location of the property, or if it is a linear activity, a description of the route of the activity, or if it is an ocean-based activity, the coordinates of the activity;
  4. A description of the environment that may be affected by the proposed activity and the manner in which the geographical, physical, biological, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the environment may be affected by the activity;
  5. Identification of all legislation and policy guidelines that have been considered in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report;
  6. Details of the public participation process undertaken, including the steps that were taken to notify potentially interested and affected parties of the proposed activity, proof that notice boards, advertisements and notices notifying potentially interested parties were displayed; a list of all persons, organizations, and state organs that were registered as Interested and Affected Party; a summary of all issues raised by Interested and Affected Parties, the date on which comments were received and the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's response to comments;
  7. Description of the need and desirability of the proposed activity and any identified, feasible, reasonable alternatives to the proposed activity, including advantages and disadvantages that the proposed activity and alternatives will have on the environment and on the community;
  8. A description of the methodology used in determining the significance of the potential environmental impacts;
  9. A description and comparative assessment of all alternatives identified during the Environmental Impact Assessment process;
  10. A summary of the findings and recommendations of any specialist report or report on a specialised process;
  11. Description of all environmental issues that were identified during the Environmental Impact Assessment process, an assessment of the significance of each issue and an indication of the extent to which the issue could be addressed by the adoption of mitigation measures;
  12. An assessment of each identified potentially significant impact, including cumulative impacts, in terms of the nature of the impact; the extent and duration of the impact in terms of spatial size or area of influence; the probability of the impact occurring; the degree to which the impact can be reversed; the degree to which there will be irreplaceable loss of resources; and the degree to which the impact can be mitigated;
  13. A description of any gaps, assumptions, or uncertainties;
  14. An opinion as to whether or not the activity should or should not be authorised and any conditions that should be attached to authorisation;
  15. An Environmental Impact Statement containing a summary of the key findings of the EIA and a comparative assessment of the positive and negative implications of the proposed activity;
  16. A Draft Environmental Management Plan;
  17. Copies of specialist reports; and
  18. Any specific information required by the Competent Authority.

Q: What is the Draft Management Plan?

The Draft Management Plan sets forth the Applicant/Developer's proposals for managing the environmental impacts of the project from the planning and design stage through construction and operation to decommissioning. The Plan must contain a detailed description of the activities covered by the Plan and the persons responsible for the implementation of the Plan.

Q: Will I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation? How and when?

Once a final decision is made and the Competent Authority has informed the Applicant/Developer of that decision, the Applicant/Developer must provide written notification of the outcome, the reasons for the decision, as well as the fact that an Appeal may be lodged to the decision, to Interested and Affected Parties. The timeframe within which the Applicant/Developer has to provide Interested and Affected Parties with this information will be specified by the Competent Authority in the Environmental Authorisation.

Q: I am not a registered Interested and Affected Party. How can I get a copy of the Environmental Authorisation?

Contact the Competent Authority to request a copy of or access to the Environmental Authorisation. You may also make use of the procedures prescribed in the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000.

Q: The Competent Authority has issued the Environmental Authorisation and the development is underway but I have new information that was not considered in the process. Can I contact the Competent Authority to have the development stopped?

It depends on what the new information concerns and how significant it is. The Competent Authority can amend the Environmental Authorisation of its own accord in limited circumstances: (1) to prevent the deterioration or further deterioration of the environment; (2) for the purposes of achieving prescribed environmental standards or (3) to accommodate demands brought about by impacts on socio-economic circumstances. If the new information relates to one of these circumstances, submit any new evidence to the Competent Authority. For example, if an endangered species is newly identified on the property, alteration of the Environmental Authorisation may be required to protect that species. Or, if the new information goes to misrepresentations made by the Applicant/Developer in the process, the Competent Authority can also withdraw or amend the Environmental Authorisation.


ASSESSMENT OF ALTERNATIVES

  1. What are alternatives in terms of the EIA regulations and is an Applicant obliged to consider alternatives to a proposed listed activity?
  2. Why must alternatives be considered?

Q: What are alternatives in terms of the EIA regulations and is an Applicant obliged to consider alternatives to a proposed listed activity?

Alternatives are the different options considered for achieving a proposed project. They may include an alternative approach, location/site, activity, process and/or technology. It is essential that the need and desirability of a proposed project be clearly defined. The EIA regulations require that alternatives to a proposed activity must be considered.

Q: Why must alternatives be considered?

The identification, description, evaluation and comparison of alternatives are important for ensuring the objectivity of the assessment process. The aim is to ensure that the selected activity has the fewest negative impacts, while meeting the identified need.


ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATIONS

  1. What information must be in the Environmental Authorisation?
  2. What information may be in the Environmental Authorisation?
  3. Environmental Authorisation has been obtained from the Competent Authority, what now?

Q: What information must be in the Environmental Authorisation?

The Environmental Authorisation must specify:
  1. the name, address and telephone number of the person to whom the authorisation belongs;
  2. a description of the activity authorised;
  3. a description of the property on which the activity will occur;
  4. the conditions attached to the activity, including the time period for which the authorisation is valid, if appropriate;
  5. requirements for management, monitoring and reporting of the environmental impacts; and
  6. the transfer of rights and obligations when there is a change of ownership of the activity or property.

Q: What information may be in the Environmental Authorisation?

The Environmental Authorisation may:
  1. provide conditions that must be complied with before the activity may begin;
  2. require the authorisation holder to furnish periodic updates to the Competent Authority. These reports might indicate the extent to which the conditions of authorisation are or are not being complied with; details of the nature of, and reasons for, any non-compliance; and describing any actions taken to mitigate the effects of non-compliance and to prevent the recurrence of non-compliance;
  3. require environmental audits;
  4. require financial or other security to cover the risks to the state and the environment for non-compliance, including security for mitigation and rehabilitation; and
  5. stipulate any other condition the Competent Authority deems necessary.

Q: Environmental Authorisation has been obtained from the Competent Authority, what now?

An Environmental Authorisation may be Appealed, amended, withdrawn or suspended.


APPEAL

  1. May a decision by the Competent Authority be Appealed?
  2. Who do I Appeal to?
  3. I want to Appeal a Competent Authority's decision, how do I initiate Appeal proceedings?
  4. How will I know if a Developer/Applicant decides to Appeal a decision?
  5. Where do I lodge the Notice of Intention to Appeal?
  6. After lodging the Notice of Intention to Appeal, what is the next step?
  7. Is there a specific format the Appeal should be in?
  8. After submission of the actual Appeal, what happens next?
  9. Will I, as the Appellant, be allowed to answer to the Responding Statement?
  10. What will happen if I can not make any of the above timeframes for submission?

Q: May a decision by the Competent Authority be Appealed?

Yes. Any person affected by the decision may Appeal the decision.

Q: Who do I Appeal to?

If the Competent Authority is the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), the Appeal should be to the Minister. If the Competent Authority is the Provincial Department of Environment, the Appeal should be lodged with the MEC of the province. No Appeal is however provided where the Minister or MEC made the decision themselves.

Q: I want to Appeal a Competent Authority's decision, how do I initiate Appeal proceedings?

Within 10 days of being notified of the Competent Authority's decision, you will have to lodge a Notice of Intention to Appeal. This notice does not have to contain your detailed reasons for appealing. You, as the person Appealing the decsion, will be known as the Appellant. You must also provide the Applicant/Developer with a copy of your Notice of Intention to Appeal.

How will I know if a Developer/Applicant decides to Appeal a decision?

If the Applicant/Developer however chooses to Appeal a decision, he/she will be known as the Appellant and have to provide all registered Interested and Affected Parties with a copy of the Notice of Intention to Appeal. Information on where and for what period the Appeal submission will be available for inspection must also be provided.

Q: Where do I lodge the Notice of Intention to Appeal?

If the Competent Authority is the Provincial Department of Environment, your Appeal should be lodged with the MEC of the Province and a copy submitted to the Applicant/Developer. If the Competent Authority is the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), your Appeal should be lodged with the Minister and a copy given to the Applicant/Developer.

Q: After lodging the Notice of Intention to Appeal, what is the next step?

Within 30 days of lodging the notice, the Appeal must be submitted. This is the detailed explanation and reasons for why you are appealing the decision.

Q: Is there a specific format the Appeal should be in?

Yes, your Appeal must be on an official form published by the Competent Authority and must be accompanied by: a statement setting out the grounds of your Appeal; supporting documentation which is referred to in your Appeal; a statement confirming that you have served a copy of your Notice of Intention to Appeal on the Applicant, as well as attach a copy of the Notice of Intent to Appeal; and the prescribed fee.

Q: After submission of the actual Appeal, what happens next?

The Applicant/Developer will now have an opportunity to respond to your Appeal submission. This is called a Responding Statement. The Responding Statement must be lodged with the MEC or Minister, depending on who the Competent Authority is, and within 30 days from date that the Appeal was made available for inspection. The person submitting the responding statement will be known as the Respondent. The Respondent must serve a copy of his/her Responding Statement on the Appellant.

Q: Will I, as the Appellant, be allowed to answer to the Responding Statement?

Yes, if the Responding Statement contained any new information that was not included in your Appeal submission, you will be entitled to answer thereto. This answer will be called an Answering Statement. The Answering Statement has to submitted within 30 days from receipt of the Responding Statement. The Appellant has to submit a copy of his Answering Statement on the Respondent who submitted the new information.

Q: What will happen if I can not make any of the above timeframes for submission?

The Appellant Authority may extend the time period, in writing and upon good cause. This means that if the Appellant Authority is of the view that you have a good reason for not being able to comply with the time periods, the Appellant Authority has the discretion to extend the prescribed period.


COMPLIANCE MONITORING

  1. The Applicant/Developer is not complying with a condition in the Environmental Authorisation, what now?
  2. What if the non-compliance or contravention of a condition in the Environmental Authorisation is causing environmental harm?
  3. How and when must the requested explanation and environmental audit report be submitted?
  4. Who will be responsible for the cost involved with the audit report?
  5. Is there provision for criminal sanctions for an offence?

Q: The Applicant/Developer is not complying with a condition in the Environmental Authorisation, what now?

Inform the Competent Authority of the violation. In terms of the regulations, if the Competent Authority reasonably suspects that the holder of an Environmental Authorisation, or a person granted an Exemption, has violated a condition of the Authorisation or the Exemption, the Competent Authority may request the holder of the authorisation to submit an explanation for the alleged contravention or non-compliance. For more information, please consult our Enforcement section.

Q: What if the non-compliance or contravention of a condition in the Environmental Authorisation is causing environmental harm?

If the Competent Authority reasonably suspects that the alleged contravention or failure has caused, or may cause, harm to the environment, the Competent Authority may request the person concerned, in writing, to submit an environmental audit report on the harm or suspected harm to the environment, or any specific matter determined by the Competent Authority.

Q: How and when must the requested explanation and environmental audit report be submitted?

Must be submitted in a form and within a period specified by the Competent Authority. The Competent Authority may require a person to appoint an independent person approved by the Competent Authority to perform the requested environmental audit.

Q: Who will be responsible for the cost involved with the audit report?

The Environmental Authorisation holder will be liable for all costs in connection with the preparation and submission of the audit report.

Q: Is there provision for criminal sanctions for an offence?

Yes, criminal sanctions may apply if a person is found guilty of any of the following offences:
  • Providing incorrect or misleading information in any document submitted to the Competent Authority pursuant to the EIA regulations;
  • Failure to disclose information, whether favorable or unfavorable, to the Competent Authority, upon request of the Competent Authority;
  • Failure to prepare an environmental audit report when requested to do so by the Competent Authority;
  • Contravention of or failure to comply with a condition of a grant of Exemption;
  • Continuation of an activity after the Environmental Impact Assessment has been withdrawn or suspended.

A person convicted of an offence may be imprisoned for up to two years or may be fined in an amount established by the Adjustment of Fines Act, 1991 (Act No. 101 of 1991).
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