Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
Home / Press Office / Webber Wentzel RSS ← Back

Email this article

separate emails by commas, maximum limit of 4 addresses

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.

Sponsored by


Article Enquiry

Proposed steps to improve the quality of specialist studies in EIA processes

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.

Embed Video

Proposed steps to improve the quality of specialist studies in EIA processes

16th May 2019


Font size: -+

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has developed a 'National Screening Tool' which is a geographically based web-enabled system that houses a wealth of environmental data obtained from a number of public and private organisations over the last few years.

The purpose of this tool is to enable an applicant who intends to submit an application for an environmental authorisation (EA) under the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA) to pre-screen the proposed site for environmental sensitivity, among other things.  We are informed that the use of the Screening Tool will become mandatory in the coming months - the date is yet to be announced.  When this happens, the requirement under Regulation 16(1)(v) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 (EIA Regulations, 2014) for a site-specific report which is generated by the Screening Tool to be submitted with all EA applications under NEMA (Regulation 16 Report) will be brought into force.


On Friday last week, the Minister of Environmental Affairs published her intention to prescribe additional procedures for assessment and reporting that will be required to be followed when applying for an EA, and which will also involve the use of the Screening Tool (Notice):

An initial site sensitivity verification (Site Verification) will be required to be undertaken

  • A Site Verification report must be prepared which confirms or disputes the current use of the land and environmental sensitivity as identified by the Screening Tool (through the Regulation 16 Report).  The findings of this comparison will affect the level of assessment that must be carried out in respect of activities that fall within prescribed "environmental themes".
  • If a Site Verification report confirms that the site proposed for development is of low sensitivity, as opposed to the high sensitivity rating identified by the Screening Tool, then in certain cases, a Compliance Statement may be submitted to the DEA (together with a motivation and evidence of the findings) instead of preparing an onerous assessment report.

Environmental themes & associated protocols

  • The following "environmental themes" have been included in the Notice: Agriculture, Avifauna, Biodiversity, Noise, Defence and Civil Aviation.  Detailed protocols which set out the requirements for the assessment and reporting of environmental impacts of a listed activity under NEMA which requires an EA on each "environmental theme" are prescribed.  When one or more of these protocols apply to a particular listed activity, then the requirements of Appendix 6 of the EIA Regulations (which govern the content of specialist studies), are replaced by the protocols.
  • Development limits are prescribed for renewable energy facilities that generate 20MW of electricity or more on land zoned for agriculture.  The proposed development limits are based on the sensitivity of the land as identified by the Screening Tool and apply to the physical development footprint.  A motivation is required where there is any deviation from the set development limits.

In Webber Wentzel’s view, the Screening Tool, together with the developments proposed in terms of the Notice, have the potential to greatly improve the quality of specialist studies that are prepared in an EIA process.  Comments on the Notice are due by 10 June 2019.



To subscribe email or click here
To advertise email or click here

Comment Guidelines

About is a product of Creamer Media.

Other Creamer Media Products include:
Engineering News
Mining Weekly
Research Channel Africa

Read more


We offer a variety of subscriptions to our Magazine, Website, PDF Reports and our photo library.

Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.

View store


Advertising on is an effective way to build and consolidate a company's profile among clients and prospective clients. Email

View options
Free daily email newsletter Register Now