The applicant has the legal responsibility to compose and submit two applications: An EIA application – which in agreement with the EIA regulations of 2014 [as amended in 2017], should be submitted to the relevant EIA-CA; and an AEL application – which in accordance with the AQA requirements, should be submitted to the relevant Air Emissions Licence Authority (AELA).
- Schedule an assessment of documentation with stakeholders
It is proposed that the EIA-CA and AELA consider the combined process to be followed and the phases at which communication should take place between them.
- Reflexion of the applications
Evaluate the information submitted by the applicant within their respective applications.
- EIA phase I
This phase includes the basic assessment report, specialist reports, public participation, scoping reports, specialized process reports and environmental assessment reports. The report must be submitted to the EIA-CA and AELA after it was distributed for PP within 44 days following the submission of the application form.
- Joint deliberation of the plan of study and scoping reports
The EIA-CA and the AELA must work together to collaborate on the Plan of Study and the Scoping Reports to determine whether the reports should be accepted. After deliberation of the reports, the EIA-CA and AELA may request amendments and when they are pleased that they have been implemented, they can accept the reports and notify the applicant. The EIA-CA and AELA have 43 days after receipt of the report to review the content of the report to accept or decline the report in writing
- EIA Phase II
- Produce an environmental impact assessment report;
- Formulate an environmental management plan/programme;
- Arrange specialist studies (including a specialist air quality impact assessment study); and
- Conduct phase II of the public participation process.
- Submit a report to the EIA-CA.
The final report must be issued to the CA in under 106 days after the distribution for PP (South Africa, 2017:232-233).
- Combined deliberation of the EIA report, environmental management plan/programme and specialists studies
The AELA must ensure they are pleased that the reports and specialist studies under consideration consist of all the information needed to enable it to thoroughly evaluate the impact of the proposed activity on the atmosphere and to adhere to the requirements contained in section 39 of AQA. It is vital for the EIA-CA and AELA to determine whether the air quality impact study meets the requirements of paragraph 5.5.3 of the National Framework and the NEMA EIA Regulations. The EIA-CA and AELA must contemplate, reject or accept the report after it has been issued within 107 days. The CA and AELA must recognise the receipt of the report in less than 10 days.
- Environmental authorisation decision
The EIA-CA, in accordance with the NEMA EIA Regulations, has 45 days, after the studies and reports have been accepted, to grant environmental authorisation in respect of the whole or partial activity applied for; or decline the environmental authorisation.
- Granting or refusal of an AEL
In terms of section 40 (3) of the AQA, if the above step leads to the issuance of an Environmental Authorisation, the AELA has 60 days from the date of issue of the Environmental Authorisation to make a decision regarding the AEL application. In a condition where the Environmental Authorisation is approved, the AELA may continue to consider the AEL application. The AELA has two options: (a) Issue a provisional AEL (which eventually will be changed to a final AEL should the applicant comply with the requirements of a provisional AEL); or (b)Issue a final AEL. The provisional AEL must be issued in terms of section 41 (2) of the AQA subject to particular requirements and conditions as the AELA may regulate, and/or as prescribed by the MEC or Minister for the listed activity of the type concerned. It is the AELA’s responsibility to confirm that the requirements or conditions applicable to air quality agreed upon during the EIA process are incorporated in the provisional AEL (2009, DEA).