Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a critical examination of the effects of a project on the environment. An EIA identifies both negative and positive impacts of any development activity or project, how it affects people, their property and the environment. EIA also identifies measures to mitigate the negative impacts, while maximizing on the positive ones.

 

The goal of an EIA is to ensure that decisions on proposed projects and activities are environmentally sustainable.

 

EIA is conducted in order to:-

  • Identify impact of a project on the environment
  • Predict likely changes on the environment as a result of the development
  • Evaluate the impacts of the various alternatives on the project
  • Propose mitigation measures for the significant negative impacts of the project on the project on the environment.
  • Generate baseline data for monitoring and evaluating impacts, including mitigation measures during the project cycle.
  • Highlights environment issues with a view to guiding policy makers, planners, stake holders and government agencies to make environmentally and economically sustainable decisions.

 

When should an EIA be done?


EIA is part of the project development process and is usually done at the initial stages of the project development. It is a decision making tool and should guide whether a project should be implemented, abandoned or modified prior to implementation.

EIA as a Legal Requirement


a) A proponent or investor shall not implement a project likely to have a negative environmental impact, or for which an EIA is required by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act or regulations issued under it unless an EIA has been concluded and approved in accordance with the law.


b) No licensing authority under any law in force in Kenya shall issue a trading, commercial or development permit or license for any project for which an EIA is required or for a project/ activity likely to have cumulative significant negative environmental impacts unless the applicant produces an EIA license issued by the Authority

Public participation in EIA process

The law requires that during the EIA process a proponent shall in consultation with the Authority seek the views of persons who may be affected by the project or activity through posters, newspapers and radio; hold at least three public meetings with the affected parties and communities.
The public participates by either submitting written or by making oral comments. Such comments are considered in reviewing the EIA Study Report.

EIA process - The steps


The key elements in the EIA process include: -

1) Development and submission of a Project Report for projects or activities which are not likely to have significant environmental impacts or those for which no EIA study is required. However, if the Authority considers that an EIA study is required, then the ensuing EIA process is as follows:

a) Scoping and drawing-up of Terms of Reference (TOR) for the study for approval by the Authority.
b) Gathering of baseline information through investigation/ research and subsequent submission of EIA Study Report to the Authority.
c) Review of EIA Study Report by the Authority and relevant lead agencies.

2) Decision on EIA Study Report includes approval, approval with conditions or rejection.

3) Appeals

4) Implementation of project.

5) Monitoring the project

6) Auditing the project

What comes after EIA


Thereafter, an Annual Environmental Audit (EA) Study Report will be done on the project.
It is the proponent’s Responsibility to Implement Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Notwithstanding any licence, permit or approval granted under any written law, any person who commences, proceeds with, executes or conducts any project without approval granted under the Act (EMCA) or regulations issued under the Act commits an offence and on conviction is liable to the penalty prescribed under the Act.


Examples of EIA conducted by KENFACE
1.    Airtel Kenya Ltd.
2.    Airtel Tanzania Ltd.
3.    Chuka University College.
4.    Econet Wireless Kenya Ltd, now Essar Telecom Ltd (Yu).
5.    Faraja Trust, Isinya - Kajiado District.
6.    Kenya Data Networks.
7.    Malili Ranch Ltd, Makueni District.
8.    Ministry of Livestock Development (North Eastern Province).
9.    Norwegian Refugee Council.
10.    P.J. Dave Flora Ltd, Isinya - Kajiado District.
11.    Rolmil (K) Ltd.
12.    Sanergy Ltd.
13.    Sphinx Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Athi River.
14.    Telkom Kenya (Orange).