The backbone to the EIA

In our last talk you were introduced to some Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) lingo. Let’s throw a few phrases at you to jog your memory – Basic Assessment Process…, NEMA…? It’s hopefully all coming back to you by now. In this talk we’re aiming to understand the EIA process in terms of what legislation says it is and should be.

In our last talk you were introduced to that “little” piece of legislation that helped create my profession – The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act 107 of 1998) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations. These regulations are the foundation upon which the EIA process rests. The 2010 EIA Regulations, also known as Government Notice number R.543 was published on 18 June 2010.

What is the purpose of the Regulations?

The purpose of these Regulations is to regulate the procedure and criteria relating to applications for environmental authorisations for the commencement of activities (explanation to follow) in order to avoid, minimise, or manage negative impacts and optimise positive environmental impacts. Basically, the EIA Regulations is a set of instructions that all applications, be it a Basic Assessment or a Full EIA, must follow. Made up of 9 chapters and using up 77 pages, it is anything but basic. As mentioned in Talk 1, the regulations can be downloaded by visiting www.environment.gov.za; clicking on “Legislation”; “Acts and Regulations”; “2007-2011” and finally on “GoN 543


The commencement of specific activities require environmental authorisation. These “listed” activities are stipulated in another set of legislation crucial to the EIA process – NEMA Listing Notices: List of Activities and Competent Authorities. Three Listing Notices have been published with the purpose of identifying activities that require environmental authorisation prior to commencement and to identify the competent authority pertaining to that authorisation:

  • Listing Notice 1 – also known as Government Notice R.544
  • Listing Notice 2 – also known as Government Notice R.545
  • Listing Notice 3 – also known as Government Notice R.546

Why three? You may wonder. Well the notice the proposed activity is listed under determines the level of EIA process to follow and stipulates the competent authority responsible for the decision on the application for environmental authorisation. As one goes higher up the Listing Notice ladder, the greater the potential impact to the environment therefore the more in-depth the EIA process becomes.

In our next talk we’ll look at the three different Listing Notices and touch on the implications of each one.

Feel free to contact our offices for professional and friendly advice on all your EIA concerns.