Scoping and the activities occurring during scoping
Definition of Scoping
After it is decided that an EIA is needed during the screening proses scoping is done. Scoping is done for small or large projects. During scoping the main environmental impacts of the project under consideration is determined and a decision is made on how deep the analysis should be done. The impact of the project is defined and the influence it will have on the environment at that stage. Key issues are identified and the minor issues are eliminated that must be addressed in the EIA (Glasson, J et al, 2005).
Required Activities occurring during scoping
During scoping the impacts of the project on the environment is disseminated to all the local effected communities and other relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders are then required to register as stakeholders and add their names to the stakeholders list. Consultations are then held with representatives of the community to focus the EIA on issues that is of concern to the local community. Debates are held to raise all the issues regarding the impacts and any alternatives to the proposal is indicated. All the specifications and regulations of the EIA that needs to be conducted must be decided upon. Any alternatives to the problem must be broadly discussed and all the pros and cons must be listed of each. A scoping report must be written and clearly state all the above mentioned.
The scoping report’s content is prescribed in the South African National Environmental Management Act, 2006. This report must include all the necessary information of the EAP. It must contain a detailed description of the site and the proposed activities that will take place. There must be a description of the environment that will be affected. All the legislations that were considered for the report must be included. Methodologies that will be adopted and specialist studies that will be undertaken must be included in the report. Any information on the stakeholders’ involvement and how they were informed of the affects should be clearly stated. All the information the authorities may enquire about should be included (Aucamp, PJ, 2009).
Stakeholders involvement and the importance thereof
In ones was said that ‘The man who pays the piper calls the tune’. Those days of calling up an engineer and having the project done no matter what are no longer applicable. There are more people involved and their viewpoints are relevant to the project. Today these people are called the stakeholders of a project.
A person can only participate as a stakeholder if he/she is registered as one and his /her name appears on the stakeholders list. The names that appear on the list are the only ones that may participate in the debates, or provide reasons to stop construction of the project. It can take only one stakeholder’s viewpoint to bring a project of billons to a halt.
The stakeholders are probably the most important part in a project. They are the ones affected by the project and lives in the area after the project is completed. All the impacts caused due to the project should be disseminated to all the stakeholders so they can raise their opinions and thoughts. They can sometimes bring forward information that the EAP missed. They can inform the EAP about issues that occurred in the past and that can influence the project.
Thus in a nutshell, the role stakeholders play in a project is crucial. Their opinions matter and they are important and contractors should know the important role the stakeholders play in the project. (Alexander, I, April 2003).
Environmental assessment and the methods thereof
Doing an EIA is part of the project. It identifies the positive and negative effects the project might engender. It can be determined if the impacts can be mitigated or the extent of the impacts can be determined. It can be advised whether the project should be impended or not.
Method of an EIA
Screening should be considers as one of the first steps when an EIA is considered. During screening the necessity of the EIA is determined. The decision on whether an EIA should be conducted is listed in the listing activities.
Scoping is done to identify and determine the impacts that need to be addressed in the EIA. During scoping the stakeholders are addressed and informed about the impacts of the project.
Impacts assessment is done to determine the significance of the impacts on the environment and the biodiversity. Both the positive and negative impacts are assessed and must be mentioned.
Mitigation and rehabilitation methods are determined to reduce the negative effects the projects impacts has on the environment.
Alternative methods are determined that could be used if the area is not suited for construction.
An EIA Report containing all the above mentioned is written.
Reviewing of the EIA report is done to ensure that all the necessary information and documentation is included.
Decision is made by the governmental department of agriculture rural development (GDAR), of whether the project may continue and if one of the alternatives should be chosen. A record of decisions (ROD) will accompany the document when it is returned.
The project is completed and all mitigation and rehabilitation mentioned in the EIA is completed.
Most important environmental legislations controlling the undertaking of an EIA in South Africa
When an EIA is needed there are legislations this EIA must adhere to. These include environmental laws which are compulsory in South Africa. It provides a body of rules and guidelines that controls human behaviour. An EIA must be set up according to these laws.
Structure of South African Law
Multinational Environmental Agreements (MEA). This includes:
The international law that is controlled by the US.
Treatise that states which species are endangered and needs to be protected. Thus if an endangered species are found on a site there must be referred to the treaties.
Protocols – Kyoto – which refers to carbon dioxide pollution.
Conventions – Montreal Conventions- provides the rules for protecting the troposphere.
Constitutions – Rights as a South African Citizen. This includes:
In the Rights of South Africa- Environmental Section, it states that:
“Everyone has the right –
a) to an environment that’s not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) Prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) Promote conservation; and
(iii) Secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development (The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning-2009).”
“Everyone has the right of access to –
(a) any information held by the state; and
(b) any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.
(2) National legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right, and may provide for reasonable measures to alleviate the administrative and financial burden on the state (The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning-2009).”
Statuary law. This is the states written law that is signed by the minister, president or the government cosset.
General statuary law:
ECA – Environmental Conservation Act No 73 at 1989 replaced
NEMA – National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998
– Chapter 5 is very important and was amended in 2008
Specific Statuary laws:
Air – Refer to NEMA : Air quality Act No 39 of 2004
Water – Refer to the National Water Act No 36 of 1998
Soil – refer to the Conservation of Agriculture Recourses Act No 43 of 1983
Biodiversity – Refer to NEMA : Protected Areas Act 2003
– Refer to NEMA: Environmental Biodiversity Act No 25 of 1999
e) Heritage – Refer to National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999