Environmental Authorisations Meet Compliance Targets

OCTOBER 1, 2014

The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tour-ism (DEDEAT) issued 42 environmental authorisations within the stipulated timeframes in the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year.

The department’s First Quarter Performance Report tabled in the Bhisho Legislature shows that on average applications were processed within 17 days of the final basic assessment reports.

This is 13 days shorter than the legislated 30 days.

The report says the average turnaround time for scoping and environmental impact assessments (EIA) was 38 days against a legislated 45 days.

It points out that the number of appeals to the MEC against decisions taken by the department is “demand driven” and therefore numbers cannot be predicted accurately.

It says one appeal was received and “an extremely high proportion of time had to be spent on this appeal (Long Beach) which had significant legal risks and implications for the department”.

The matter was now the subject of a judicial review which was expected to proceed in the second quarter.

The report says that with the exception of compliance inspections all quarterly targets in the 2014/15 Operational Plan were met.

It adds that the “probable reason” for this was that “considerably more EIA applications than expected had to be dealt with during the first quarter of the year.

In terms of Compliance and Enforcement, the report says that a joint operation with Mineral Resources and Water Affairs was carried out at Metro Quarries, Lake Farm.

In addition, an inspection was conducted in Despatch on the illegal dumping of building rubble onto the drainage line and wetland.

The report also notes that the Nelson Mandela Bay Bio-Regional Plan has been published in the Provincial Gazette.