Department of Science and Technology
27 March 2019
The science and technology department has welcomed the adoption of the Integrated Environmental Management Plan (IEMP) for phase one of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in South Africa.
The IEMP was published in Government Gazette 42323 on 22 March 2019.
In a statement, the department indicated that the process to grant an environmental licence for the construction of the SKA Phase 1 to get underway in the Northern Cape involved extensive consultation with local communities.
The department’s Acting Chief Director for Astronomy, Takalani Nemaungani, expressed appreciation for the input from local residents.
“I would like to thank these communities and the municipalities, as well as the stakeholders in various sectors affected by the project, for actively participating in the meetings and workshop held by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who served as the facilitators,” he said.
The IEMP outlines the environmental principles to be followed in the construction and operation of SKA Phase 1, the environmental monitoring and control activities to be undertaken and the long-term research monitoring programmes to be implemented at the SKA site.
The CSIR, over three years, undertook the strategic environmental assessment for the SKA Phase 1 covering an area of approximately 628 200 hectares in the Karoo.
“The study assessed the impacts that the construction and operation of SKA Phase 1 might have on local agriculture, heritage (including archaeology, paleontology, cultural heritage and the visual landscape), terrestrial ecology and biodiversity, as well as local socio-economic aspects.”
Issues such as aviation, defence, telecommunications, weather services, mining, water use, waste management, noise and traffic effects were also looked at.