TIMEFRAMES PRESCRIBED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, SECTION 24G AND WASTE MANAGEMENT LICENCE APPLICATIONS DURING THE PERIOD 15 DECEMBER 2019 TO 5 JANUARY 2020
Regulation 3(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Regulations, 2014 (as amended) states that: “For any action contemplated in terms of these Regulations for which a timeframe is prescribed, the period of 15 December to 5 January must be excluded in the reckoning of days”.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries issued a notification letter dated 9 December 2019 to inform all stakeholders of the aforementioned provision in the EIA Regulations, 2014.
The mandatory exclusion period of 15 December to 5 January for the consideration of any timeframes prescribed in the Regulations includes applications for environmental authorisations, applications for amendments to environmental authorisations, environmental management programme reports or exemptions for the provisions of the Regulations. Accordingly, Section 24G applications should also not be submitted to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (“the Department”) during this period. Decisions on the applications for environmental authorisations and notifications of decisions with regard to EIA applications will not be issued between 15 December 2019 and 5 January 2020.
Any timeframes associated with the public participation process must exclude the period 15 December 2019 to 5 January 2020. The timeframe of 30 days for State departments to comment on applications must also exclude this period in accordance with Regulation 3(3), only in exceptional circumstances and if agreed to by the Department, may the applicant conduct any public participation during this period.
The notification letter furthermore states that the Chief Directorate: Integrated Environmental Authorisations will be on a mandatory strategic planning exercise from the 12th to the 13th of December 2019. Any applications or reports submitted during this time will be deemed as having been received on the 6th of January 2020 when the Department’s offices reopen.
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