Developers face tough penalties from new regulations

Property developers failing to get the necessary environment authorisation before commencing work could be bludgeoned with a penalty of up to R5 million and imprisonment of ten years in terms of the new Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) regulations, which came into effect on July 3. The fine under the old regulations was up to a maximum of R100 000 or ten years.

However, the new regulations do include a mechanism for developers seeking authorisation after commencing a project, but that consideration requires a R1m administrative fee and does not guarantee forthcoming permission. Worst case scenario Ian Sampson, environmental attorney and partner in Shepstone & Wylie, told delegates in giving his analysis of the new regulations to a Durban breakfast seminar was that of a R5m fine, plus a R1m administrative fee and even instructions to remove the building.

A new change affecting costal developers is the now compulsory authorisation requirement for all buildings within 100 metres of the high water mark of the sea.

Nick Holdcroft, principal environmental management consultant of SRK Consulting, advised delegates to always factor EIA’s into projects as early as possible; to consider the impact of EIA delays and costs and careful selection of Environmental Assessment Practitioner.
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