Statutory Framework for Environmental Planning

Environmental Planning is a system of Planning which runs parallel to the system of physical planning established under the Land Control Act and the Physical Planning Act.  It establishes a Planning System at District Level and at National Level.  Unlike the Physical Planning Act which is based on planning at national level but on implementation through local authorities.

Section 37 establishes the National Environment Action Plan Committee.  The function of the National Environmental Plan Action Plan is to prepare a national environmental action plan after every 5 years for consideration and adoption by the National Assembly.  The NEAP is a compilation of District Environment Action Plans which are prepared by the district environment committee.

Section 40 establishes in each District a District Environmental Committee whose task is to prepare a district environmental plan and submit the DEAP to the provincial Environmental Action Plan Committee.  The Provincial EAPC is to prepare a provincial environmental plan based on the district environmental plan further compiled at the national level.

The National Environmental Plan is further required to analyse the national resources of the country and set out actions required to be taken to implement environmental measures across the country.  The Environmental Management and Coordination Management Act does not indicate in what way the Environmental Action Plan relates to the Physical Plan and so one ends up with plans that are really running in parallel which is an unfortunate set-up coz there should have been a way of interlinking the two plans.

The very first National Action Plan was prepared in 1994 prior to the enactment of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act and one of the actions that was proposed in that plan was the enactment of an environmental law.  since the enactment of this Act no National Environmental Plan has been prepared although if one takes the date , this would be the 5th year.

Planning is a precondition to environmental management primarily it enables the separation of incompatible uses of land.  Physical planning does not have to necessarily have environmental objectives.  To ensure that physical planning promotes environmental objectives a methodology known as the Environmental Impact Assessment has been applied (EIA)


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