Green Issues for Singapore General Elections 2011 – #2 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
A series of green issues that could be discussed at the Singapore General Elections 2011. The second issue (not in order of importance) is regarding the legislation on mandatory environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
What are the political parties’ stand on having mandatory EIAs for public and private development projects, and how would it protect the environment and impact our competitiveness?
“An environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the natural, social and economic aspects”, according to Wikipedia. The purpose of an EIA is to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impacts and engage stakeholders before proceeding with the project.
In Singapore, there is no legislation on mandatory EIA systems, although the government may require EIAs to be conducted for big construction and development projects, usually on a case-by-case basis. Recent EIAs include the study by PUB for the second desalination plant at Tuas, and the study by Resorts World on the reclamation project for the Sentosa IR.
A few opposition parties mentioned EIAs in their manifestos, including the Workers’ Party:
Plans for projects likely to adversely affect the natural environment should be accompanied by Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) and mitigation plans before they are approved.
and the SDP:
The SDP would administer thorough environmental impact assessment in the planning of new developments and major projects.
One good example of a country with mandatory implementation of EIA systems is Hong Kong, with their EIA Ordinance that makes EIAs statutory for designated projects in both the private and public sectors, and allows for public input.
1. What are the reasons for the government not legislating mandatory EIAs?
2. What are the pros and cons of having mandatory EIAs, in terms of the environment, social, culture and economy?
3. For EIA studies that have been conducted, do they meet international reporting guidelines?
4. Are the public and stakeholders engaged and consulted in the current EIA process?