Environmental Assessment Practitioner Services

Environmental Assessment Practitioner Services


An Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) is someone who

  • Co-ordinates, manages and integrates the various components of environmental assessment throughout the planning process.
  • Has received an appropriate interdisciplinary training covering both the natural and human environment.
  • Has experience in environmental management, environmental assessment and related studies.
  • Demonstrates core competencies that are considered essential to the environmental assessment profession.

Ecosense’s combination of experience provides a unique opportunity to integrate practical needs early into the impact assessment phase, ensuring applicability in the construction and operational phases of development. Our services include management of specialists and professional team coordination. Ecosense is skilled in handling various applications that are required by environmental legislation. As such Ecosense undertakes statutory application processes under various environmental laws including the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), National Environmental Management Waste Act (NEMWA), and National Water Act (NWA):

Applicability Checklists (NEMA)
In order to determine whether the proposed activities of a development project requires any authorisations, we conduct screening studies to determine the envisaged scope of the project and identify any constraints and triggers in terms of relevant legislation. This is most helpful to ensure due diligence and environmentally sound development. Examples of successfully completed checklists are for Maroela South housing development in Kraaifontein, development of a residential erf in Gordons Bay, relocation of a sewer in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch and burying of telephone cables in Pringle Bay.

Environmental Authorisations (Basic Assessment or Scoping/ Environmental Impact Reporting (NEMA))
An Environmental Authorisation is required where development triggers certain thresholds according to three listing notices promulgated under NEMA and the EIA Regulations, 2014. In order to obtain authorisation to commence with such activities, either a Basic Assessment or Scoping/ Environmental Impact Reporting process must be followed. Ecosense facilitates these processes through the compilation of reports containing project information, anticipated impacts and mitigation and conducts public participation to notify stakeholders of the proposed development. It may also involve facilitation of specialist studies, depending on the sensitivities associated with the development. These processes are also followed for other authorisations such as Waste Licenses or Air Emission Licenses. Ecosense have obtained over 30 Environmental Authorisations in the last 5 years, which include infrastructure projects, such as the installation of a sewer network, Penhill, and a water main upgrade in Ceres and housing projects, such as Nuwe Begin Housing development, Blue Downs and Kalkfontein informal settlement upgrade, Kuils River.

S24G Applications and Rehabilitation Reports (NEMA)
When development has taken place without authorisation, authorities can issue notices to the parties involved. Ecosense assist in compiling Compliance Notice Responses, which includes investigating the impacts and possible rehabilitation measures associated with such developments. Should the proponent wish to obtain authorisation, NEMA Section 24G requirements are undertaken. This involves the same actions required for basic assessment processes. Examples of successfully completed S24G processes are for the unlawful construction of a dams on farms near Ceres and Humansdorp; ploughing in a water course on Vergenoegd Farm, Worcester; planting of vegetation on a dune, St Helena Bay, and rehabilitation reports, where activities were reversed.

Maintenance Management Plans (NEMA)
As work in water courses normally requires approval, regular maintenance work is excluded from having to obtain environmental authorisation, provided that a Maintenance Management Plan (MMP) is approved by the authorities. Ecosense compiles the necessary plans, usually in conjunction with a Freshwater Ecologist. Examples of such are for the operation of a stone weir in the Soet River at Greenways, Strand and amending the MMP for road upgrade works in the Bonnievale, Stormsvlei area.

Construction and Operational Management Plans (NEMA)
An Environmental Management Programme, consisting of Construction and Operational Management Plans is required as part of the EIA process, but can also be required as a standalone document. Ecosense works recommendations from application processes together with mitigation and tried and tested specifications into such documents for easy practical implementation thereof. Existing standards or auditing systems can be incorporated into these documents to avoid duplication of efforts. Examples of Standalone EMPs are Site Environmental Management plan for construction at Hermanus Harbour, conservation area management plans for Kenilworth Race course and Schonenberg Estate, as well as the operational management plan for Atlantic Beach Golf Estate.

Setback line Applications (NEMA)
Certain of the Listed Activities provides for an exclusion from having to obtain environmental authorisation if the activity will be undertaken behind a development setback line, which has been defined or adopted by the competent authority. In the event that a development setback line is not defined or adopted by the competent authority, an application for environmental authorisation must be submitted and the activity subjected to the environmental impact assessment set out in the EIA Regulations, 2014. Ecosense undertakes the assessment and public participation process required for these applications. Examples of setback line applications are for Building works in Clifton, Cape Town and storm water infrastructure at Greenways, Strand where both developments would be within the 100m high water mark of the sea.

Waste Licenses (NEMWA)
Under the Waste Act and its Listing Notices, certain waste management activities require a Waste License. The process followed to obtain such license is similar to NEMA Environmental Authorisation processes, i.e. Basic Assessment or Scoping/ Environmental Impact Reporting. Examples of waste license applications are for the construction of a cullet plant at Consol, Bellville; waste water treatment works at Helderstroom and Buffeljagsrivier correctional facilities as well as a landfill site at Garies, Northern Cape.

Water Use Licenses (NWA)
All water users who are using water for agriculture: aquaculture, agriculture: irrigation, agriculture: watering livestock, industrial, mining, power generation, recreation, urban and water supply service must register their water use. Developments close to or affecting water courses such as wetlands or rivers will require a Water Use License (WUL) under the NWA. The process is similar to the assessment process under NEMA and can be undertaken in parallel. Ecosense facilitates the necessary or additional requirements for developments to obtain licenses. Water use license applications submitted in conjunction with environmental authorisation processes include developments such as the sewer network in Penhill, Cape Town; Spier berms and wetland rehabilitation projects, Stellenbosch and Vergenoegd Farm, Worcester. We also undertake standalone WUL application processes, an example being road crossings through a stream at Gibson Bay, Eastern Cape.