ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN SECTORAL LEGISLATION
In addition to the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements under the National Environmental Management Act, there are a number of other statutes which provide for EIAs in respect of certain areas or activities.
The Development Facilitation Act, 67 Of 1995:
Regulation 31 of the Regulations promulgated under this Act in 2000 provides that the land development applicant must include in his or her application as set out in Annexure B an environmental scoping report, prepared in accordance with the environmental impact assessment guidelines or other requirements which are from time to time issued or amended by the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. (Development Facilitation Regulations R1 in Government Gazette No. 20775 (7 January 2000), regulation 31). It is important to note that in addition to the Development Facilitation Act, at provincial and local government level, policies, provincial legislation, ordinances and by-laws regulate land development planning processes. For example, the Town-planning and Township Ordinance, 15 of 1986 provides for the procedure to be followed in respect of township establishment.
The National Water Act, No 36 Of 1998:
Certain water uses require a water use licence in terms of this Act. Section 41(2) states that a responsible authority …may, to the extent that it is reasonable to do so, require the applicant, as the applicant’s expense, to obtain and provide it by a given date – with …an assessment by a competent person of the likely effect of the proposed licence on the resource quality; and …may conduct its own investigation on the likely effect of the proposed licence on the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of the water resource. (The National Water Act 36 of 1998, s41(2)(a)(ii) and (b))
The Marine Living Resources Act, No 18 Of 1998:
Section 18(3) of the Act provides that the Minister may request that an application for fishing rights be supplemented by an environmental impact assessment.
The Mineral And Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 Of 2002:
In terms of this Act, within 14 days of accepting an application for inter alia a mining right, the Regional Manager must advise the applicant to conduct an environmental impact assessment and submit an environmental management programme for approval in terms of section 39. (The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002, s22(4)(a))
The National Heritage Resources Act, 25 Of 1999:
If a person wishes to develop an area with a heritage resource (these include national and provincial heritage sites, protected areas, heritage areas, and archeological and palaeontological sites, including wrecks and meteorites) he or she must obtain the necessary development approval. If there is a possibility that the heritage resources will be affected, an environmental impact assessment must be conducted. (The National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999, s38(2)(a))
The National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 39 Of 2004:
The Act requires an atmospheric impact report where there is a reasonable suspicion that the Act or licence conditions have been contravened. Glazewski notes that the use of environmental assessment in this penal way where there are suspicious circumstances and well after the project in question has commenced, represents a marked departure from the orthodox use of environmental assessments (Glazewski op cit note 20 at 252). At this stage, however few sections of this Act have commenced.