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Environmental Assessments
Environmental Assessments

The National Environmental Management Act of 1998 (NEMA) through its regulations have identified a range of listed activities or actions that will require some type of environmental authorisation due to the likely impact these types of activities may have on the environment.

The listed activities are divided into two main categories, with small or low impact activities, or those which take place in sensitive environments in certain provinces, requiring a Basic Assessment, and medium or larger scale activities, requiring a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment.

Basic Assessments

Basic Assessments are required for all activities listed in terms of NEMA. They require investigation as well as a public participation process in order to allow the competent authority to make an informed decision.

Generally Basic Assessments consist of an informed assessment of the environmental attributes of the area under consideration, an analysis of the likely impacts that the proposed development may have, and suggested mitigation measures to reduce any impacts. A Basic Assessment is effectively a small Environmental Impact Assessment, sometimes supported by one or more specialist studies.

Environmental Audits and Performance Assessments

Whenever a developer intends to initiate a particular activity or project, buy an operating company, or purchase a tract of land that may have been subject to past environmental impacts, an environmental screening or risk assessment can be undertaken.
Such an undertaking may involve a preliminary screening exercise to determine the level of investigation required, or form part of a detailed due diligence exercise to inform the prospective developer or purchaser of any inherent or latent environmental risks or pollution associated with a proposed course of action.

This latter work often requires specialist investigation to determine the magnitude of the risks and any necessary rehabilitation measures and costs to eliminate or reduce these risks.

As part of the environmental due diligence (EDD) of a project, we systematically review and identify environmental issues that present risks or liabilities to operations for the purpose of acquisitions, mergers, unbundling, or restructuring activities.

Environmental Impact Assessment

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the natural, social and economic aspects.

The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the ensuing environmental impacts when deciding whether to proceed with a project. The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an EIA as “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.”.

The EIA report is underpinned by various specialist environmental studies — depending on the proposed activity being investigated — and a transparent, robust and inclusive public participation process. Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd draw on a wide pool of expertise, most of whom are considered leaders in their fields, which enables us to tailor specialist teams according to the specific needs of each client or project.

Environmental Audits and Performance Assessments

Environmental Auditing / Performance Assessment involves measuring the level of compliance of a specific activity, development or project against a set of standards (e.g. ISO 14001), legislation, management plan or permits/licences.  Audits must be objectives, impartial and independent and the audit process must both be systematic and documented. It is an environmental management tool which are used to assess, evaluate and manage environmental and sustainability issues through a systematic process that must be carefully planned, structured and organised.

The overall objective is to be able to monitor performance over time and assess whether or not compliance has improved or not. Audits also provide a forum for the exchange of technical knowledge and identification of cost reductions.

Legislation requires that an EIA be undertaken for many developments particularly where there is the potential for significant environmental effects and Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd through the fact that we are highly skilled and experienced in the co-ordination and management of the EIA process at all levels, we can advise on the need for a Basic Assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment.

With the advantage of being associated with various other specialists in the environmental field, Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd can provide specialist input on almost any environmental issue or concern to provide the most efficient and cost effective management strategy through associated environmental ethics and integrity.

The key services offered by Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd which forms
part of the Environmental Impact Assessments process management includes:
  • Overall Project Management
  • Application and liaison with the relevant government authority
  • Scoping Phase including Specialist Study identification and briefing
  • Specialist Studies Management
  • Public Participation including Stakeholder Involvement
  • Report compilation, public review, submittal and follow up
Environmental auditing is a broad term that embraces a number of disciplines such as:
  • Verification of environmental compliance
  • Financial reporting
  • Non-financial environmental information
  • Company information as part of the due diligence process

Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd supports companies in proactively managing and improving their compliance ensuring they have the necessary permits/licences to operate while also bringing tangible business benefits, such as reduced costs, reputation management and greater competitiveness.

Our services are aimed at operators of all types of processes in any sector and range from small assessment, audit and review projects to very large compliance and permitting/licensing programmes.

The following types of environmental audits can be conducted by Prescali

Environmental Management Audits
To check and evaluate the effectiveness of environmental management system.
Environmental Compliance (or performance) audits
To test the compliance to environmental policies, objectives, laws, by-laws, ordinances, regulations, authorisations and standards.
Environmental Assessment Audit
To check that an EIA complies with the minimum legal requirements and also checks to ensure that due legal processes have been followed.
Waste and/or Water Audits
Which looks at the waste management and/or water usage component of an operation or site.
Other types of environmental audits include:
Product Audit, Supplier Audit, Policy Audit, Management Audit, Post-Development Audit, Closure Audit, Emergency Response Audit, Resource Audit, Merger and Acquisition Audit and Current Status Audit.

 

As part of the continual improvement of an Environmental Management System, Prescali provides the following services:

Environmental Gap Analysis
Gap analyses focuses on identifying short comings and recommend improvements on system policies, objectives, targets, environmental management programmes and operational controls, as well as the organization’s environmental legal requirements.
Environmental Auditing
Environmental auditing is one of the most effective tools used by organizations to measure and improve environmental performance.
Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14001:2015)
The ISO 14000 series of Environmental Management System (EMS) standards, aims to provide a solution to improve environmental management, reduce waste, prevent pollution and improve environmental performance, while complying with increasingly stringent legislation.
Environmental Reviews
An environmental review is an informal tool for evaluating an organization’s current environmental status and an ideal vehicle for recommending mitigation measures.
Environmental Training
Special environmental training courses ranging from training illiterate and semi-literate employees, to empowering senior managers can be supplied.

 

With the advantage of being associated with various other specialists in the environmental field, Prescali Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd can provide specialist input on almost any environmental issue or concern to provide the most efficient and cost effective management strategy through associated environmental ethics and integrity.

Environmental Control Officer

An Environmental Control Officer (ECO) fulfils the function of an independent monitor of the implementation of the Environmental Management Program (EMP) and monitors all relevant environmental aspects on site.

The ECO needs to form part of the project team, being involved in all aspects of the project planning that can influence environmental conditions on site, i.e. attending relevant project meetings, conduct inspections to assess compliance with the Environmental Management Program and be responsible for providing feedback on potential environmental problems associated with the development. In addition, the ECO’s responsibility includes:

  • Liaising with pertinent governments departments and submit environmental audit reports in terms of the level of compliance to the EMP
  • Liaising with contractors, engineers and the design team regarding environmental management
  • Liaison with Interested and Affected parties, if and when required
  • Routine monitoring and reporting as per the site specific checklist

The ECO has the right to enter the site and undertake monitoring and auditing at any time, subject to compliance with health and safety requirements applicable to the site (wearing safety boots, head gear, mouth mask etc).

Although the main aim of the ECO report is to report on the compliance with the EMP, the report will also include a description of the general state of the site, with specific reference to legal non-compliance. Corrective action measures will be suggested to eliminate the occurrence of the non-compliance incidents. In order to keep a record of any impacts, an Environmental Log Sheet needs to be kept on a continual basis.

This is a basic summary of our services but by far not a complete one. If you are in need of a specific service in our field of expertise, please do not hesitate to contact us and find out more since we are more than capable of meeting your requirements.

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