NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT, 107 OF 1998: CONSULTATION ON THE INTENTION TO ADOPT THE SOLAR EXCLUSION NORM AND EXCLUDE THE DEVELOPMENT AND EXPANSION OF SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC FACILITIES FROM THE REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN AN ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION
Notice Title: National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998 (“NEMA”): Consultation on the intention to adopt the Solar Exclusion Norm and exclude the development and expansion of solar photovoltaic facilities from the requirement to obtain an environmental authorisation
Government Notice: GN 4121 in GG 49788 on 30 November 2023
Commencing date: Comments to be submitted on or before 15 December 2023
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, intends to adopt the Norm for the Exclusion of the Development and Expansion of Solar Photovoltaic Facilities in Areas of Low or Medium Environmental Sensitivity, in terms of section 24(10) of the NEMA and exclude, in terms of section 24(2)(d) of the NEMA activities identified in terms of section 24(2)(a) and (b) of the NEMA for the development and expansion of solar photovoltaic facilities, including any associated activity or infrastructure, from the requirement to obtain an environmental authorisation, based on compliance with the Norm.
The proposed Norm and associated excluded activities have been subjected to public comments and the following specific changes have been made in response to comments received:
a. the definition of “footprint” has been amended to provide clarity that the footprint includes the buffer;
b. allowing the use of a site sensitivity verification undertaken within the preceding six years in support of a registration request; and
c. new provisions have been added:
i. which restricts the applicability of the Norm to activities which have not yet commenced;
ii. which requires, where possible, that land which has already been modified be considered for the location of the proposed facility;
iii. which requires the relevant specialist to identify areas on a map within the corridor in which development is not permitted due to environmental sensitivity and such areas are avoided;
iv. which identifies that the timeframe of the site sensitivity verification inspection must have a duration for a period of time as necessitated by the sensitivity and size of the facility;
v. requiring the specialist to provide evidence of the site inspection having been undertaken by providing a track on a map where the specialist walked and at least four documented coordinates on the site with photographs and a description of the habitat at that site;
vi. containing additional guidance with respect to the process when required information is missing or incomplete from the registration documentation; and
vii. reflecting more detail regarding consultation requirements.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments and inputs on or before 15 December 2023. For a copy of the Government Gazette Notice click here.
For more information or assistance please contact Jan Nel at email@example.com.