Environmental Impact Assessments: Have EIA regulation amendments influenced report quality?
South Africa has implemented regular amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations in an attempt to improve the effectiveness of the process. One way of evaluating effectiveness is to assess the quality of EIA reports submitted for decision-making. This study aimed to assess whether the amendments to the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), (Act no 107, 1998) EIA regulations in 2014 have contributed to better EIA report quality in South Africa in comparison to the previous EIA system. As such, a sample of 26 EIA reports, 16 under the 2010 EIA regulations and 10 under the 2014 EIA regulations, were reviewed using an adapted version of the Lee and Colley review package. The findings of this research revealed that overall report quality improved under the 2014 EIA regulatory system compared to the 2010 system. Furthermore, an improvement in the 2014 EIA report quality indicates that the decision-making process is more well informed and holistic, which further indicates an improvement in effectiveness of the EIA process. Key amendments to the 2014 EIA regulations that have an influence on EIA report quality include appendix 2 which outlines the objective, scope and content of a scoping report, appendix 3 which outlines the objective, scope and content of an EIA report, appendix 4 which outlines the content of an EMPr, and appendix 6 which outlines the content of a specialist report. It is thus concluded that amendments to the EIA regulations have in fact influenced report quality. These findings differed from those of other studies undertaken on EIA quality under the 2006 EIA system in comparison to the 1997 EIA system. Key words: Environmental Impact Assessment, Effectiveness, Environmental Impact Assessment Report, EIA Report Quality, EIA Regulations, National Environmental Management Act.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, 2018
Tilakram, Kariesha, (2018) Environmental Impact Assessments: have EIA regulation amendments influenced report quality? University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, https://hdl.handle.net/10539/26731.