Site Screening Assessments: The Important First Step For All Developments

The evaluation of site sensitivity is vital in recognising environmental risks and determining the relevant legislation that applies to all types of development.

A site screening assessment is an essential tool valued by successful developers, not only to ensure their projects are financially viable, but also to ensure planning and execution are done in an environmentally responsible manner, compliant with national, provisional, and local legislation.

The undertaking of a site screening assessment at the early planning phase acts as an “early warning system” that highlights potential environmental risks, sometimes even before a site is purchased. Some of these risks may include but are not limited to, sensitive aquatic environments (wetlands), geological conditions (dolomitic site conditions), heritage aspects (graves), and sensitive animal and plant species.

The advantage or value of these assessments in identifying opportunities to enhance positive risks that could benefit the environment and social aspects e.g. water conservation and employment creation should also not be underestimated.

Key Steps

The three (3) key steps undertaken as part of a site screening assessment are:
  • Step 1: Gather as much information about the site as possible by looking at present and historical imagery, present and past land uses, and activities that may have occurred on the property through the use of available literature and data.
  • Step 2: Once the literature and data have been gathered, a site visit is arranged by the Environmental Assessment Practitioners and Professional Natural Scientists to verify the information and identify additional potential risks that were not identified from the literature and data review.
  • Step 3: The information gathered during the first two steps is used to determine legislative requirements for developments, identify opportunities and constraints, and provide management measures that will offer valuable input into the design, ensuring a feasible and sustainable project or development.
When starting a new project, buying or renting a piece of property, one of the most important things to do is make sure you are aware of any potential environmental risks as well as the legislative requirements that need to be complied with. The initial screening and assessment will, over the course of time, prevent project implementation delays, financial loss, or transgression with legislative requirements.

ENVASS has experience in providing environmental site screening assessments that are tailored to fit all industry sectors and private developments. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with our team of registered Environmental Assessment Practitioners and Professional Natural Scientists at Tel: 012 460 9768 or to assist.

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