The Legislative Assembly has passed the Registration of Environmental Impact Assessment Consultant’s Regulations 2021 ensuring persons with prepared Environmental Impact Assessment report must register and holds a valid EIA certificate.
14 MPs in Parliament last week passed the Registration of Environmental Impact Assessment Consultant’s Regulations 2021 while five MPs opposed it.
In the Regulation, section 3 requires that it is a must for any person conducting EIA under the Act and EIA Regulations to have a valid EIA Consultant certificate.
The Minister responsible for the Environment can refuse any prepared Environmental Impact Assessment report for any person without a valid EIA Consultant Certificate.
To apply for a certificate, interested candidates must fill an application form with a prescribed fee of up to TOP$1300 for local Principal consultants with a TOP$800.00 renewal fee. Overseas principal consultant pays $3900 with a renewal fee of $2400.00. There are also prescribed fees for senior and assistant consultants’ categories.
EIA study team should consist of a principal consultant as the team leader and any number of senior consultants and assistant consultants.
In section 5, the CEO of Environment may convene a Review Panel to consider an application for certificate and make recommendation on the suitability of the applicant for registration.
A Review Panel may also provide recommendation on the suitability of an application for registration.
The Review Panel comprises of the CEO who is the chair, one senior officer from the Ministry with the relevant technical expertise and one from another ministry, agency or body whose mandate the major project to be assessed falls under. And also, a technical expert in the relevant area under assessment.
In section 18 of the Regulation, it clearly stated that any person conducting an environmental impact assessment without an EIA Consultant Certificate is an offence.
It is also an offence to provide false information in an EIA report which have detrimental impact in the environment under study if the major project is allowed to proceed. Such offence is liable on conviction to a fine up to $5000 or a jail sentence.
The main objective of Environmental Impact Assessment is to provide information regarding a new project, program, plan or policy. EIA presents a technical assessment of the possible environmental effects of a project in a systematic manner.
EIAs are performed on the sites where new developments are scheduled to be undertaken or where there is a planned extension of previously developed projects, to assess the impact that the developments will have on the environment.
Areas of expertise needed includes animals and agriculture, food related and horticulture, waste management, harvesting/removal/clearing, infrastructure, mining and extraction, marine structures among others.