Environmental News and Information

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  

  • Definition of EIA

          Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the systematic examination of unintended consequences of a development project or programme, with the view to reduce or mitigate negative consequences and capitalize on positive ones.
In practice, this means studying and analyzing the environmental feasibility of any proposed project because the implementation or operation of the project may affect the environment, natural resources and/or human health.

  • Why EIA?

          The purpose of EIA is to ensure the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources including human health aspects against uncontrolled development.  The long-term objective is to ensure a sustainable economic development that meets present needs without compromising future generations ability to meet their own needs.  EIA is an important tool in the integrated environmental management approach.       
EIA must be performed for new establishments or projects and for expansions or renovations of existing establishments according to the Law for the Environment 

  • Environmental Law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a willing and active participant in the global trend to preserve the environment through a combination of positive initiatives and environmental regulation.

Protection of the environment is enshrined in KSA’s Basic Law of Governance (issued by Royal Order No. A/91 on 1/3/1992), which is effectively KSA’s constitution. Article 32 provides that:
“The State shall endeavor to preserve, protect and improve the environment and prevent its pollution."

The two principal regulatory controls in relation to environmental law are as follows:

The Public Environmental Law was enacted by Royal Decree No. M/34 dated 28/7/1422 Hejri (corresponding to 16 October 2001), and was published in the Official Gazette number 3868 dated 24/8/1422 Hejri (corresponding to 9 November 2001). The Public Environmental Law creates a general regulatory framework for the development and enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, and assigns general responsibility for this to the Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (the 'PME').

The Implementation Regulations to the Public Environmental Law were issued by the Minister of Defense and Aviation Resolution No. 1/1/4/5/1/924 dated 03/08/1424 Hejri corresponding to 30 September 2003 (the "Implementing Regulations") and published in the Official Gazette No. 3964 on 28/08/1424 Hejri (corresponding to 25 October 2003). The Implementing Regulations came into force on the date of publication.
In addition to its responsibilities under the Public Environmental Law, the PME is made responsible for issuing or withholding its consent for projects so as to ensure compliance with the Public Environmental Law and the Implementing Regulations.
Under the Implementing Regulations, any licensing authority (i.e., any other authority, other than PME, that is responsible for issuing a licence to projects that may have a negative impact on the environment) must ensure that an environmental impact assessment ("EIA") is prepared by the applicant (at their expense) during the feasibility study of any project that may have a negative impact on the environment.

Projects that may have a negative impact on the environment are separated into three classes by the Implementing Regulations, which annexes detailed lists of the types of projects falling into each class. In addition to an initial environmental assessment application that is required for each class of project:

  • Class I project must prepare a simple report describing the project;
  • Class II project must prepare a brief environmental technical report of the project; and
  • Class III project must prepare an EIA.

Following their review of the application and the documentation provided, the PME may reject the applicant's application for PME consent, grant unconditional PME consent or impose on the applicant such conditions (if any) as may be necessary to address any concerns that the PME has. Where conditional PME consent to the project is granted, the applicant must undertake to fulfill such conditions as a prerequisite to the granting of the licence by the licensing authority.

  • Key Principles for Environmental Assessment of the Project:

The auditing process for the environmental impact assessment shall be based on the following key principles:
• The nature and magnitude of the intended activity and the existence of similar projects at the site or similar sites.
• Extent of depletion of natural resources by the installation, particularly agricultural lands and mineral resources.
• Location of the installation and the nature of the surrounding environment and nearby residential habitats.
• Type of power used.

The method of assessment will also depend on the classification of the project based on the level of expected impacts of these projects into three categories as follows:

  • First Category: Projects with Limited Environmental Impacts: This category covers projects which are not expected to have tangible negative environmental impact. The preliminary environmental assessment form for first category projects completed by an environmental specialist who will prepare the simplified preliminary environmental report on the project.
  • Second Category: Projects With Significant Environmental Impacts: This category covers the projects that may or are expected to have some significant environmental impact requiring the development of a specific environmental assessment report addressing certain environmental or technical details
  • The preliminary environmental assessment form for second category projects completed by a consulting office qualified by the competent agency or any research center or any other agency approved by the competent agency, in addition to two copies of the summarized environmental technical report along with the project design drawings, equipment and instrumentation catalogues.
  • Third Category: Projects With Serious Environmental Impacts: These are projects whose construction and operation are expected to have serious negative effects on man and the environment and thus require a comprehensive environmental impact assessment
  • Three copies of the project environmental impact assessment report prepared by a consulting office qualified by the competent agency or any research center or any other agency approved by the competent agency in accordance with the general guidelines for the development of an environmental impact assessment for industrial and development projects after coordination with the competent agency. The main report contents are:
  •  Presentation of the Project:
  • Description of The Project And Its Objectives
  • Status of Surrounding Environment
  • The Environmental Assessment
  • Assessment of Significant Impacts
  • Summary of The Significant Impacts After Mitigation Processes

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Granit Middle East Environmental Services Company Ltd.

Address:PO. Box 45 Jeddah 21493, KSA
Telephone:02- 657 3120, 6573103
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