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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Categories of Development Plan Application that Requires Environmental Impact Statement in Nigeria

Categories of Development Plan Application that Requires Environmental Impact Statement in Nigeria

Environment is defined as the sum total of all conditions that surround man on earth surface. These conditions are known not only to be physical, but also social, economic, cultural, aesthetic and/or political dimensions and their various interactions and interrelationships.  It therefore follows that any damage done to any of the conditions mentioned that surrounds man will have adverse impact on man’s quality of life. The main effect of the development activities of man on land is the alteration of the natural environment.  Such developmental activities may include the location of building uses, mechanized farming, lumbering, and mining, quarrying, etc. It has been observed that, in many instances, these developmental activities have been sources of major environmental problems. Hence, environmental impact of any development on the physical, social, economic, aesthetic and cultural aspects of the environment and its location need to be predicted and evaluated and measures to mitigate negative impacts before the inception of development need to be identified.
Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Impact Assessment Report (used interchangeably) can be defined as the process of predicting and evaluating the various aspects of the environmental effects, both adverse and beneficial of a proposed development, the conclusions of which is to be used as a tool in decision making. There are two types of project effects and these are primary and secondary impact. Primary impacts of a project are those that can be attributed directly to the proposed action. These may include impact related to its construction and operation. Secondary effects are always referred to as the indirect or the induced changes which may be positive or negative. This may include the population movement during festivals, break and the associated traffic situation, pressures likely to be exerted on water, electricity, and solid waste and noise to be generated among others.
The desire to reduce or control environmental problems has been a major concern in recent times.  Such concerns are targeted towards ensuring the sustainability of the environment. Countries all over the world (developed and developing) have responded to this issue of environmental quality sustainability in various ways. In Nigeria most importantly, the promulgation of the decree No 89 that established the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the launching of the National Policy on the Environmental in 1989 were steps taken towards achieving this goal. A component of the National Policy on the Environment is that Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which is aimed at predicting and controlling the consequences of a proposed developmental activity be prepared for certain types and magnitude of projects. 
Most states in Nigeria had taken the right step by including the preparation of Environmental Impact Statement in their planning regulations for some categories of buildings/ development. However, the categories of development plan application that requires environmental impact statement in may vary from states to states, and this may be influence by the degree and magnitude of planning problems in that state. But notable among the development plan applications that require Environmental Impact Statement can be seen in Section 33 of the Nigerian Urban and RegionalPlanning (NURP) Decree No 88 of 1992 and Section 38 of the Lagos Urban and Regional Planning (LURP) Edict No 2 of 1998.  
The categories of development plan applications that requires environmental impact statement in Nigeria include but not limited to:
  • Residential land in excess of 2 hectares (NURP);
  • Permission to build or expand a factory or for the construction of an office building in excess of four floors or 5000 square metres of a lettable spaces (NURP); 
  • Permission for a major recreational development (NURP);
  • Office or other commercial building (LURP);
  • Place of worship (LURP);
  • Major recreational development covering more than 2000 square metres (LURP);
  • Institutional buildings (LURP);
  • Petrol filling and service stations. (LURP).

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