ROADMAP FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

GENERAL PROCEDURE

  1. Getting Involved

    You are legally entitled to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

    Although anyone can participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, the Applicant/Developer or his consultant (known as the Environmental Assessment Practitioner) MUST inform certain people and groups of a proposed development and register them as Interested and Affected Parties (I&AP). The groups are by no means restricted to this list. If you do not form part of this list and have concerns, you are entitled to raise them. Those groups are:

    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.

    Difficulty Reading or Writing? The Department/Competent Authority reviewing the application must provide reasonable assistance to a person who wishes to object to the application or lodge an appeal against a decision but is unable to do so himself due to illiteracy, disability, or other disadvantage

  2. Registering As An Interested And Affected Party

    If the Developer/Consultant does not contact you, contact them and ask to be registered as Interested and Affected Party. Anyone who asks to be registered as an Interested and Affected Party must be added to the list.

    The Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner must open and maintain a register of names and addresses of:

    1. all persons who as the result of the basic public participation process have submitted written comments or attended meetings with the Developer/Applicant or Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner and;
    2. all persons who, after completion of the public participation process request, in writing, that their names be placed on the register.

  3. Find Out Whether The Project Is For An Activity Listed In Listing 1 Or Listing 2

    You will need to know whether the proposed activity is listed in Listing 1 or in Listing 2 . This will affect how much public involvement and environmental assessment there will be. Listing 1 activities are generally subject only to basic assessment. Listing 1 activities are believed to be less likely to have a significant environmental impact and therefore undergo a much less thorough environmental assessment known as basic assessment.

    Listing 2 activities are generally subjected to Scoping and the full Environmental Impact Assessment. Listing 2 activities are those that are presumed to cause significant impacts on the environment and, therefore, require a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment and greater public participation.

    The Developer/consultant should be able to tell you which category the proposed development/activity falls into, however you can confirm this by looking at the listings yourself.

  4. Find Out Who Else Is Interested And Involved

    The Developer/Environmental Assessment Practitioner is required to allow you to see the list of registered Interested and Affected Parties, if you request it in writing. Meet with other interested parties and share information, concerns, and thoughts.

  5. Get The Contact Information For The Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner Appointed To Do The EIA

    It is better to contact the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner with any questions/issues that you have as they are collecting information on the project and will prepare the basic assessment report.

  6. Get The Contact Information For The Competent Authority

    The competent authority may be able to provide you with useful information regarding the process.

  7. Know Your Rights

    As a registered Interested and Affected Party you are entitled to comment on the following reports (this obviously depends on the process being followed):

    1. Basic assessment reports, including a basic assessment report that is rejected and sent back to the consultant for amendment and then resubmitted;
    2. Scoping reports, including a scoping report that is rejected and sent back to the consultant for amendment and then resubmitted;
    3. Environmental impact assessment reports;
    4. Draft environmental management plans; and
    5. 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 I&AP.

    Any written comments that you submit to the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner within the time periods that have been set or approved by the Competent Authority or extended by agreement with the Environmental Assessment Practitioner, must accompany the report when the report is submitted by the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner to the Competent Authority. Make sure you comply with the relevant time periods.

  8. Keep Notes Of Your Conversations With The Developer/Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner And Competent Authority

    It is always best if you keep notes of any conversations that you have with the Developer, the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner, and the Competent Authority.

    Note the date, who you spoke to, what was said, and what, if anything, was agreed upon. If there is an issue later on, it always helps to have a record of the conversation. If possible, record your conversation in writing in a letter or email addressed to the person you spoke to.

  9. Know What To Expect From Public Participation In The Environmental Impact Assessment Process

    You can expect, and insist, on being informed about the development and its environmental impacts. You have the right to express your concerns and to ask questions and insist on answers. You can offer suggestions, mitigation ideas, viewpoint, and even, if you are able, your own expert opinions and insist on a response to these. This is not a process that will necessarily stop a project but it should result in a project that is as environmentally sound as possible and that takes into consideration the concerns of the community. Normally (this is not always the case) the Environmental Assessment Practitioner will hold a meeting where he/she explains the development/activity and ask you what your comments are.

    Keep your own record of the minutes of what was said at a public participation meeting. Compare your minutes to the minutes supplied by the consultant and ensure the Consultant's version of the minutes include all the issues raised and how they were addressed.

     


WHAT TO DO IF THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY REQUIRES A BASIC ASSESSMENT PROCESS (ACTIVITY LISTED IN LISTING 1)
  1. Collect Information About The Proposed Project

    The more you know about the project location and activities, the more useful and effective your participation will be. Ask the consultant whether a Background Information Documents has been compiled, if so request a copy. If you don't know much about the project, ask the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner for the Basic Assessment Report and attend any public meetings. The Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner is not required to have public meetings for a Basic Assessment but ask if they are going to anyway. The level of public participation will depend on the extent of the proposed activity.

    The minimum public participation required can be viewed at Minimum requirements.

    The Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner is required to give Interested and Affected Parties an opportunity to comment on the Basic Assessment Report and must submit any comments that a registered Interested and Affected Party makes to the Competent Authority evaluating the application. If the Developer/Applicant has built similar projects elsewhere, contact community groups in that area to see if they have any thoughts on how environmental review was carried out or if, since the project was approved, there have been any unforeseen problems, or a lack of compliance with the Environmental Authorisation and or any conditions included therein. The Competent Authority for that decision will have a copy of the Environmental Authorisation.

  2. Consider How The Proposed Activity Will Affect You, The Environment And Other People

    Specific comments and concerns are most helpful and effective. Rather than saying, the activity will pollute the water, say, the activity will pollute the stream that provides drinking water to these three communities and schools.

    Make your own evaluation of the project. Do not assume that the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner will consider the same issues that you consider important or that it will view things the same way.

    Consider issues such as:

    • Where is the proposed project located? Residential, Industrial, Schools?
    • What does the developer intend to do about storm water, sewage and electricity supply?
    • Will the activity take place on/near wetlands or other sensitive areas?
    • Are there threatened and endangered species on or near the property that will be affected?
    • Will the project impact other species? How?
    • Are there nesting grounds on the property?
    • Will Heritage Resources be impacted?
    • Will Cultural Resources, such as graves and religious sites, be impacted?
    • What will be the impact on traffic? How will air quality be affected from increased traffic?
    • How will the air quality be affected from emissions of project? Is the area a pollution priority area (e.g. a designated pollution hotspot)? Will the process add priority pollutants (i.e. problem pollutants subjected to special rules) into the air?
    • What water bodies will or may be impacted? Is the water used for drinking water? Stock watering?
    • What will noise level be?

  3. Appoint Your Own Experts

    Depending on the extent of the proposed activity, the consultant will appoint specialists to conduct specialist studies and compile specialist reports. This is not necessary, especially for a fairly simple project requiring only a Basic Assessment Report. But if you have the resources, you may want to appoint your own expert to have an independent look at the project. If you contact other Interested and Affected Parties, you might be able to share the expense. You do not have to appoint your own consultant to take part however.

  4. Comment On The Basic Assessment Report

    Your first source of detailed information about the proposed project is likely to be the Basic Assessment Report. The Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner must prepare a Basic Assessment Report that sets out the need and desirability for the activity/project, feasible and reasonable alternatives identified, potential environmental impacts of the activity, assessment of possible mitigation measures, and assessment of whether there are any significant issues or impacts that might require further investigation. The Basic Assessment Report is submitted to the Competent Authority which will use the information in the Basic Assessment Report to make its decision to grant or deny approval to the activity/project or request the activity/project to be subjected to the more thorough Scoping.

    Interested and Affected Parties are entitled to comment on the draft Basic Assessment Report and to have their comments submitted to the Competent Authority along with the Report.

    Contact the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner to find out:

    1. When your comments are due to Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner.
    2. How you will see a copy of the Basic Assessment Report. Will they send you a copy or do you have to go somewhere to view it? If they send it to you, when can you expect to receive it?

    Comment in writing and keep a copy of your comments. Record how and when you gave the Environmental Assessment Practitioner and/or Competent Authority a copy. If you hand deliver a copy, ensure that you get an additional copy signed by the person you delivered it to with the date and time of receipt and retain that copy.

    Be specific in your comments. Rather than saying, What about the project's impact on water? say, The stream in the area supplies drinking water to 1000 people, runs through two communities. How much water will the project use and what effluent will be added by the project? This helps the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner understand precisely what your concerns are.

    State who you are and what your interest is in the project, e.g. live in area, represent local community group.

    Trust but verify. Ask the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner for a copy of the final Basic Assessment Report submitted to the Competent Authority. Check that your comments are accurately represented.

    Submit your comments to either the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner or directly to the Competent Authority. If you submit your comments directly to the Competent Authority you must send a copy to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner as well.

  5. Know The Project Time-Line And Your Deadlines

    Keep track of the deadline for actions so that you can participate in a timely manner. Some of the time periods are quite short.

  6. Submission Of Application And Basic Assessment Report - 14 Days

    Once the Developer/Applicant/Consultant has submitted the Basic Assessment Report to the Competent Authority, the Competent Authority has 14 days to either acknowledge that it received the application and all the prescribed information is included, OR reject the application if it is not in order. If the report is rejected based on formal requirements, the Environmental Assessment Practitioner may correct that application and resubmit it to the Competent Authority.

  7. Decision On Merits Of Application - 30 Days

    30 Days from the Receipt and acceptance (based on formal requirements) of the Application and final Basic Assessment Report, the Competent Authority must consider the merits of the Basic Assessment Report and Application and may:

    1. Grant Authorisation for all or part of the activity; OR
    2. Refuse Authorisation; OR
    3. If unable to decide-
      • Request the Environmental Assessment Practitioner to :
        1. Submit additional information required
        2. Submit a report on any specialist studies or specialised processes required
        3. Consider, suggest or comment on feasible and reasonable alternatives
        4. Subject the application to scoping; OR
      • Reject, if based on insufficient Public Participation, or if the Basic Assessment report does not contained specified information.

    If the report is rejected based on insufficient Public Participation, or due to the fact that the Basic Assessment report did not contained specified information. The report may be amended and resubmitted.

    Comments that are made by Interested and Affected Parties in respect of an amended basic assessment report must be attached to the report, but the Environmental Assessment Practitioner is not required to make further changes to the report in response to such comments.

  8. Competent Authority Must Provide Written Explanation For Decision - 10 Days

    10 Days from the decision on the merits, the Competent Authority must notify the Applicant of its decision as well as provide a written explanation for its decision.

    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 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 National Environmental management Act, 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.

  9. The Developer/Applicant Is Required To Notify Interested And Affected Parties Of The Decision

    Although the regulations do not specify the time period, the Environmental Authorisation issued by the Competent Authority to the Applicant will specify the time period within which the Applicant must notify Interested and Affected Parties of its decision. Ensure that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Developer has complied with the time periods. If not, write to the Competent Authority and Environmental Assessment Practitioner and state the day you actually received the decision.

    This written explanation of the basis for the decision will assist you in any appeal you may lodge or if the Applicant decides to appeal. The Competent Authority also is required to keep copies of its decisions.

  10. The Developer Resubmits The Rejected Application

    If the application is rejected for insufficient information or failure to meet the requirements of the regulations, therefore based on formal requirements, contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and request a copy of the revised report - you are entitled to comment on any changes to the document even if there is nothing new to add.

    If the application is rejected on its merits, the developer/applicant must wait three years before resubmitting an application that is substantially the same unless there is new information.

     


WHAT TO DO IF THE ACTIVITY REQUIRES SCOPING (ACTIVITY LISTED IN LISTING 2 )
  1. Collect Information About The Proposed Project

    See step 1 on Basic Assessment

  2. Consider How The Proposed Activity Will Affect You, The Environment And Other People

    See step 2 on Basic Assessment

  3. Appoint Your Own Experts

    See step 3 on Basic Assessment

  4. The Scoping Report And Plan Of Study For Environmental Impact Assessment - A Roadmap For The Project

    Your first source of detailed information about the proposed project is likely to be the draft Scoping Report and Plan of Study for the Environmental Impact Assessment. An Environmental Assessment Practitioner might also compile a Background Information Document (BID) and send to Interested and Affected Parties with the notification of the proposed activity. The BID aims to provide information on the proposed activity.

    Before beginning the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project, the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner must compile information for a Scoping Report and Plan of Study for the Environmental Impact Assessment. The Scoping Report gives the Competent Authority and the public details about the proposed project, and how the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner will evaluate the project and its possible impacts. The Scoping Report provides a roadmap of the issues to be evaluated and methodology to be used in making the more detailed and in-depth assessment in the Environmental Impact Report.

    The Scoping Report must include:

    1. Details of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant who prepared the report and the EAP's qualifications to carry out the Scoping process;
    2. Description of the proposed activity and of any feasible and reasonable alternatives that have been identified;
    3. 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. 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. 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 and comments received from Interested and Affected Parties and the Environmental Assessment Practitioner response thereto.
    9. 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

  5. Comment On The Scoping Report

    Raise Your Issues Early. It is much easier for the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner if you raise issues as soon as you can rather than once the Environmental Impact Assessment Report is completed. If you raise your issues too late, you may lose the opportunity to raise them at all. The Scoping Report and Plan of Study for Environmental Impact Assessment provides the basis for the Environmental Impact Assessment. If there are issues that you wish to have evaluated in the Environmental Impact Assessment, comment on the Scoping Report so that the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner will know what issues you are concerned about.

    Interested and Affected Parties are entitled to comment on the draft Scoping Report and to have their comments submitted to the Competent Authority along with the final Scoping Report.

    Contact the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner to find out:

    1. When your comments are due to the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner.
    2. How you will see a copy of the Scoping Report. Will they send you a copy or do you have to go somewhere to view it? If they send it to you, when can you expect to receive it?

    Comment in writing and keep a copy of your comments.

    Be specific in your comments. Rather than saying, What about the project's impact on water? say, The stream in the area supplies drinking water to 1000 people, and runs through two communities. How much water will the project use and what effluent will be added by the project? This helps the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner understand precisely what your concerns are.

    State who you are and what your interest is in the project.

    Trust but verify. Ask the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner for a copy of the final Scoping Report submitted to the Competent Authority. Check that your comments are accurately represented.

    Submit your comments to either the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner or directly to the Competent Authority. If you give them to the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner it gives them an opportunity to respond to your comments.

  6. Know The Time-Line And Your Deadlines

    Keep track of the deadline for actions so that you can participate in a timely manner. Some of the time periods are quite short.

    Ask Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner when it will submit the application and to let you know when the application is submitted. This will help you keep track of where the process is.

    Make sure you know not only the time-line established by the EIA Regulations but also when things actually happen as extensions of time may be given.

  7. Review Of Scoping Report And Plan Of Study For Environmental Impact Assessment - 30 Days

    Once the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner has submitted the Scoping Report and Plan of Study for the Environmental Impact Assessment to the Competent Authority, the Competent Authority has 30 days to:

    1. Accept the Scoping Report and Plan of Study and tell the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner to proceed with the activities set out in the Scoping Report and Plan of Study (i.e. begin the Environmental Impact Assessment); OR
    2. Reject the Scoping Report and Plan of Study and request that the applicant make changes before it will accept the reports; OR
    3. Reject the Scoping Report and Plan of Study due to missing information required by the statute, regulations, or guidelines

    If the Competent Authority requests the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner to change the Report, you are entitled to comment on the amended report before it is resubmitted to the Competent Authority.

     


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT AND DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN
  1. Comment On The Environmental Impact Assessment Report

    Once the Scoping Report and Plan of Study for the Environmental Impact Assessment are accepted by the Competent Authority, the Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner will proceed with the Environmental Impact Assessment. This is the detailed assessment of the impacts of the project and the possible mitigation activities. Interested and Affected Parties must be given an opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment Report must include detailed description of:

    1. The Environmental Assessment Practitioner that drafted the report, including his/her expertise to manage the assessment;
    2. The proposed activity and location;
    3. Environment that may be affected by the activity;
    4. Impact on physical, biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of environment that may be affected by proposed activity;
    5. Details of public participation undertaken;
    6. Summary of comments received from Interested and Affected Parties;
    7. The need for the proposed activity, potential alternatives to the activity, advantages and disadvantages that the application or alternatives will have on community;
    8. Methodology used to determine significance of impacts;
    9. Comparative assessment of all alternatives identified during EIA process;
    10. Summary of findings and recommendations of any specialist reports or report on a specialised process;
    11. All environmental issues identified during EIA process, including an assessment of significance of each issue and extent to which impacts can be mitigated;
    12. Each identified potentially significant impact, including cumulative impacts, the extent and duration of impacts in terms of area of influence;
    13. Probability of impact occurring;
    14. Degree to which impact may cause irreplaceable loss of resources and possible mitigation measures;
    15. Any assumptions, uncertainties, and gaps in knowledge;
    16. Opinion as to whether activity should be authorised and, is so, limits on authorisation;
    17. Report must include statement containing summary of key findings of EIA and comparative assessment of positive and negative implications of proposed activity;
    18. Draft environmental management plan;
    19. Copies of specialist reports.

    Comment on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report. You have to submit your comments on the Report within the specified/ agreed/ extended time periods. If necessary, you can always ask for an extension of time, although there is no requirement that such an extension be granted.

    Be specific.

    Submit Written Comments.

  2. Review Environmental Impact Assessment Report And Draft Environmental Management Plan - 60 Days

    Once the /Consultant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner has submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Draft Environmental Management Plan to the Competent Authority, the Competent Authority has 60 days to:

    1. Accept the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Draft Management Plan (this does not mean that the project may proceed as proposed, only that the Report on the project meets the required criteria); OR
    2. Notify the Applicant the Specialist Reviewers have been appointed; OR
    3. Reject the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Management Plan and request that the Applicant make changes before it will accept the reports; OR
    4. Reject the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Management Plan due to missing information required by the statute, regulations, or guidelines. This may be resubmitted once corrected.

  3. Environmental Impact Assessment Report Accepted

    Once the Environmental Impact Assessment Report is accepted, OR if a report has been referred for specialist review and the Competent Authority received findings of specialist review, the Competent Authority has 45 days to:

    1. Give approval for all or part of the proposed activity with any conditions it deems necessary; OR
    2. Refuse authorisation for the project. Consult this list of what may and must go in the Environmental Authorisation.

  4. Written Reasons For Decision Required

    This written explanation is known as the Environmental Authorisation. Once a decision is reached, the Competent Authority has a further 10 days to, in writing:

    1. Notify the Applicant of the decision; AND
    2. Provide reasons for the decision; AND
    3. Draw the Applicant's attention to the provisions regulating appeal procedures; AND
    4. Instruct the Applicant to notify all registered Interested and Affected Parties of the Competent Authority's decision, as well as the reasons therefore, and the provisions regulating appeal procedures. This notification must be done within the time period specified in the Authorisation.

  5. Applicant/Developer Must Notify Interested And Affected Parties Of Decision

    The notification will include written reasons for the Competent Authority's decision