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?

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 1and 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 Authoritydo?

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.