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Rules on Oral Requests for Environmental Authorisations in Place

April 14, 2015

Department of Environmental Affairs

Rules outlining how oral requests to carry out a listed or specified environmental activity in emergency situations are to be made have been published in Government Gazette 38684.

The rules follow amendments to the National Environmental Management Act introduced in 2014.

The amendments empowered a competent authority to direct a person either verbally or in writing to carry out a listed activity without the necessary environmental authorisation in order to deal with emergencies.

The changes also allowed for requests to be made verbally.

The rules set out the procedure for the submission and processing of an oral request for a verbal directive.

The rules focus on, inter alia:

• Circumstances in which an oral request may be made;
• Information required;
• Factors to be considered;
• Refusal of verbal directive;
• Issuing of verbal directive;
• Undertaking specific measures;
• Written confirmation;
• Site inspection;
• Amendment, suspension, revocation; and
• Reporting requirements.

Oral requests may only be made where a listed or specified activity has to be undertaken immediately to prevent or contain an emergency situation.

Verbal directives must be confirmed in writing within seven days after the directive has been issued.

The rules came into force on 10 April 2015.