1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the Environmental Assessment Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires -
"activity" includes a project, programme, plan or policy;
"Association" means a body registered under the Societies Act, which adequately demonstrates to the Minister that it is representative of the majority of Environmental Assessment Practitioners practising in Botswana at any given time;
"Board" means the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Board established under section 20 of the Act;
"Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Board;
"committee" means a committee of the Board;
"competent authority", in relation to an activity under this Act, means the Department of Environmental Affairs;
"developer" means a person intending or planning to undertake a new activity or repair or extend an existing activity;
"Director" means the Director responsible for environmental affairs;
"environment" includes the physical, ecological, archaeological, aesthetic, cultural, economic, institutional, human health and social aspects of the surroundings of a person;
"environmental audit" means work done to identify and evaluate compliance of the statement and the residual environmental impact of an existing activity, the effectiveness of mitigation measures and the functioning of monitoring mechanisms;
"environmental impact" means any positive or negative effects caused by an activity on the environment;
"environmental impact assessment" means the process and procedure for evaluating and predicting the likely environmental impact of a proposed activity;
"evaluation report" means a report on studies carried out to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account when an activity is implemented;
"local authority" includes a land board;
"member" means a member of the Board elected, appointed or nominated under section 22;
"mitigation measures" means the reduction or control of the adverse environmental impact of an activity and includes restitution for any damage to the environment caused by such activity through engineering works, technological improvements, management measures or compensation to ameliorate any loss suffered by a person;
"practitioner" means an Environmental Assessment Practitioner registered under section 37;
"project brief" means a description of the likely environmental impact of an activity provided by the applicant as part of the application;
"register" means a register of practitioners established under section 38;
"relevant technical department" means a government department or local authority responsible for monitoring an activity undertaken under this Act, by virtue of that department or local authority having the necessary technical expertise to do so;
"scoping" means consultations with concerned government departments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, members of the public and any other interested persons, to determine the extent of the likely environmental impact of a proposed activity;
"statement" means a report of the environmental assessment study;
"strategic environmental assessment" means a process for evaluating the environmental consequences of proposed policy, plan or programme initiatives in order to ensure that they are fully included and appropriately addressed at the earliest stage of decision making, on par with economic and social considerations;
"threshold", in relation to an environmental impact assessment of an activity, means a measurable level or limit of an output resulting from the operation of a proposed activity indicative of the activity's environmental impact; and
"terms of reference" means a document which details the main environmental issues which must be addressed in an environmental impact study.
3. Application of Act
(1) This Act applies to the activities in respect of which the Minister may prescribe by regulations.
(2) Regulations made pursuant to subsection (1) shall prescribe -
(a) a list of activities which are likely to cause significant adverse effects on the environment, or the locations that may be environmentally sensitive, in respect of which a statement shall be mandatory;
(b) threshold determinations of environmental impact assessment with respect to the activities prescribed under paragraph (a); and
(c) criteria which shall be used to determine the likely effects of a proposed activity in order to further determine whether or not a statement is required for the activity.
(3) The Minister may, in writing, upon application for exemption by a person implementing an activity referred to under subsection (2), exempt the activity from the provisions of this Act.
4. Requirements to undertake an activity
(1) No person shall undertake or implement an activity prescribed under section 3 unless -
(a) such person has applied to a licensing authority for authorisation to undertake such activity and authorisation has been issued under section 12; and
(b) the environmental impact of the proposed activity is fully taken into account in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
(2) Any person who undertakes or implements an activity in contravention of subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P100 000, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or to both.
(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall rehabilitate the area affected by the adverse environmental impact of the implemented activity.
(4) In this section, "rehabilitate" means the reinstatement or restoration to a normal or functional environmental state.
(5) A person who fails to rehabilitate the area referred to under subsection (3) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P1 000 000, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years, or to both.
5. Ensuring issuance of authorisation
(1) A licensing authority shall, before issuing a permit, licence, consent or approval to any person who has applied to implement an activity prescribed under section 3, ensure that authorisation has been issued for the proposed activity in accordance with this Act.
(2) In this section, "licensing authority" means any authority vested with the responsibility of issuing permits, licences, consent or approval for any of the activities prescribed under section 3.