South Africa: Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment On Landcare Projects

press release

A Generic Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) for the management and mitigation of environmental impacts resulting from the implementation of LandCare projects has been published for adoption.

Also adopted is the exclusion of these projects from the requirement to obtain environmental authorisation.

The generic instrument for LandCare programmes was published in Government Gazette 44341 (Notice No. 276) by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, on 29 March 2021.

The adoption of the Generic EMPr linked to LandCare projects means the exclusion of requirement to obtain environmental authorisation for site-specific projects would apply only if the project complies with the conditions in the generic EMPr. The developer would still be required to undertake an EIA process and to commit to implementing the provisions of the generic EMPr. It will be an offence should they not do so.

A Generic Environmental Management Programme for the LandCare Programme was developed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in October 2020 to avoid, manage and mitigate the environmental impacts and risks associated with the activities of the programme. These include activities identified by provincial MECs within a specific geographic area for which environmental authorisation would be required.

The EMPr has been developed by a multi-disciplinary team of specialists based on 23 years of experience in implementing the programme. Following review, it was found to meet the requirements and principles contained in the Act. Thus the adoption of the instrument.

While the Notice states that any activities that meet the requirements of the pre-approved EMPr, and the necessary registration requirement, are excluded from area-specific environmental authorisations, this would only apply if the provincial coordinator registers that LandCare Programme with the competent authority 30 days prior to commencement. The registration must be accompanied by a declaration of compliance.

Legal action will be taken if the project is not formally registered, or issued with a registration number by the competent authority.

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