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Environmental Impact Assessment - South Africa

Southwest Environmental limited present summarised details of a project in South Africa where an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out for a Coal Fired Power Station in South Africa (North West).

Background

South Africa has the most EIAs carried out on a wide range of project types with 5800 projects reaching scoping phase since incept of the below legislation:

  • Environment Conservation Act
  • Policy, 1999 No. 73 of 1989
  •  EIA Regulations, No. R1182 of 5 Sept 1997 National Environmental Management Act, No. 107 of 1998 Act)
  • Minerals Act, No. 50 of 1991
environmental_impact)assessment_south_africa

Aims

The simplified aim of an Environmental Impact Assessment is to promote sustainable development through effective management of social, environmental and economic impacts, so that:

Both the principal and frequency of EIA work in South Africa far surpasses other African Nations although many others including rapidly growing nations such as Nigeria are carrying out more and more EIA for projects of relevant types and sizes.

Time Frame

The project was carried out over 12 months from inception, this owing to key seasons for ecological surveys being missed in the first year of the study. The scrutiny of the assessment was carried out in a timely manner my the regional authority. A large team of specialists were mobilised to conduct desk top and field studies, and produce written finding within a short time frame.

Project Comment

The project was carried through the Screening and Scoping Phases. Specialist studies were then carried out with regards to the key EIA elements, as described above. The EIA for the above project included a full scope of impacts assessed. With a key focus on Socio Economic Impacts and Climate Change Impacts. Transport Impacts were also carefully considered, the placement of the plant in close proximity to a railway line were a key early step in minimizing these impacts.

Results

The finding of the EIA were that on balance that project's benefits out ways the adverse impacts.