Title: Air Quality Offsets Guideline
Government Notice: GN 333 in GG 39833 of 18 March 2016
Date of commencement: 18 March 2016

Environmental offsets are generally defined as measures that counterbalance, counteract, or compensate for the adverse impacts of an activity on the environment. In the air quality context, an offset is an intervention, or interventions, specifically implemented to counterbalance the adverse and residual environmental impact of atmospheric emissions in order to deliver a net ambient air quality benefit within, but not limited to, the affected airshed where ambient air quality standards are being or have the potential to be exceeded and whereby opportunities and need for offsetting exist. Offsets are not intended to replace regulatory and enforcement tools but are an additional tool that can be used to achieve long-term environmental protection.

The Air Quality Management Offset Guideline is aimed at providing a guide to the industry or proponents, government entities, consultants, the general public and other key stakeholders regarding appropriate principles to be adhered to in assessing the need and in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of air quality offsets. The guideline provide guidance on situations under which offsets can be applied during the implementation of the atmospheric emission licensing system (stipulated in Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEMAQA); in accordance with section 39(i) of the NEMAQA.

“So what” for my operation?
In terms of chapter 4 of this Guideline, it is recommended that air quality offsets be utilised in the following circumstances:
• Application for postponement of compliance timeframes wherein the application is positively considered (in part or full) – offset will be included in the conditions of approval.
• During an application for variation of an Air Emission Licence (AEL)
• During an application of an atmospheric emissions license in areas where National Ambient Air Quality Standards are being or likely to be exceeded.

Should an air quality offset be required by the Licensing Authority, this may have an implication on specific aspects of your air quality application, such as financial aspects and planned timelines.

What is Shangoni’s approach?
Shangoni provides technical support in the compilation of the AEL application form. Shangoni can assist with the notification of stakeholders, interested and affected parties and organs of state, as part of the AEL application process. If required by the Licensing Authority, Shangoni can conduct Atmospheric Impact Assessments as part of the AEL application process.