Tag Archive | National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill

Coastal environment bill proposals clearer

Focus still on sensitive areas….

Cabinet has now finally approved the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill for submission to Parliament, the new draft  on coastal environment management now clearly seeking to clarify the protection of the sea and the sea-bed without limiting the functions of other organs of the state in performing their duties.

The bill also aims to support the sustainable management of the coastal environment as was proposed in the original drafts and the 1999 White Paper on the subject but the final Bill is yet to be seen based on what has been accepted by cabinet for tabling in Parliament.

The draft that never was

Originally in early 2012 a draft was published that had the broader objectives, namely  to clarify coastal public property and the ownership of structures erected on and in coastal public property and remove the power to exclude areas from coastal public property; simplify and amend powers relating to coastal leases and extend the powers of MECs to issue coastal protection notices and coastal access notices;

Other issues concerned dumping of waste and permits to do so and penalties and fines for matters related to environmental laws in general.

Transnet sorted out

In general debate and public hearings the unintended consequences became quite evident insofar that during 2012 Transnet and the department of environmental affairs reached an agreement both anchor legislation and any subsequent amendments did not have the unintended effect of the state appropriating all the port assets of the National Ports Authority below the high water market – including the breakwaters‚ entrance channels‚ turning basins and quay walls – estimated to have a value of R46bn.

Such an appropriation posed a material threat to Transnet’s business‚ port operations‚ loan agreements‚ capital investments and financial position. This presumably caused not only precedent but a change in thinking as to what exactly what was possible and what was not, insofar as an intended line for appropriation based on inland geo markers was concerned.

New definitions of “public coastal”

Whilst the newly and now tabled Bill broadly aims to support the sustainable management of the coastal environment, a definition of “public coastal property” provided in the new bill includes “land submerged by coastal waters (including the seashore of reclaimed land) on which the substrata is artificially created and located below the high water mark; any part of an immovable structure located below the high water mark and the seashore of any natural or reclaimed island.”

Areas that are excluded include reclaimed land above the high water mark and any immovable structure or part of such a structure (including harbours and harbour installations) above the high water mark, unless inside the admiralty reserve.

Penalties and fines are still included and so are matters regarding dumping.

Posted in Enviro,Water, Health, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments

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