EIAs are a legal necessity for many activities in the wood treatment industry, and hold several benefits for your business.
These include a more efficient design of your factory, which leads to lower capital and operating costs; better environmental credibility, which improves your public relations; and a reduced risk of legal action, fines and criminal prosecution due to pollution.
This is the word from Ross Holland, of Holland and Associates Environmental Consultants, which has done extensive work with Dolphin Bay to ensure that our operations comply with environmental legislation.
“We chose Holland and Associates because they share our business values, and we are extremely confident in their competence,” says Dolphin Bay MD Bertus Coetzee.
“The company has a thorough understanding of the diverse situations where environmental law applies, and exactly what is required in each instance,” says Bertus. “They are also very well-connected with all the other experts one needs to call upon, during the EIA process.
Ross says that the most common “trigger” activities in the wood treatment industry for an EIA include:
• Storage and handling of dangerous goods, where certain threshold volumes are exceeded;
• Atmospheric emissions;
• Generating certain kinds and volumes of waste;
• The site’s proximity to the water course, under certain conditions;
• The site’s proximity to the high water mark of the sea;
• Clearing vegetation.
These “trigger” activities are outlined in the EIA Regulations published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).
“Smaller wood treatment operations may fall below the ‘trigger’ thresholds for activities outlined in the regulations,” says Ross. “However, each case must be evaluated on its own merits.”
For smaller scale activities, a Basic Assessment is required. For larger-scale activities, a Scoping and EIA process must be undertaken.
The costs of an EIA are not insignificant although they vary, depending on the process required, the environmental sensitivity of the area and the level of specialist input required.
“One needs to view the cost of legal compliance against the significant penalties that apply,” says Ross. “A reputable practitioner will be able to run an efficient and cost-effective process.”
Says Bertus: “We were extremely happy with the work that Holland and Associates did for us, and recommend their services to our clients.”