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?

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.