Environment impact rules

New rules on environmental impact studies should cut red tape when regulations come into force in July. The regulations, containing compulsory timeframes, should mean that costly delays as a result of waiting for environmental go-aheads will be reduced. However, environmental groups are not as enthusiastic about the changes, ones which could override their concerns.

Decisions will now have to be made within 14 days for purely administrative actions; within 45 days for review of and action on minor reports; and 60-105 days for review of and action on complex reports. At the moment 50% of environmental impact assessment applications are finalised within six months, and about 6,5% took more than two years - with some taking more than three years to finalise, while there is a national backlog of 4000 applications.

Article on BusinessDay and the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998.

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