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Law Policy and Institutional Arrangement for EIA in Sri Lanka

A . EIA in the National Environmental Act (No. 47 of 1980 with subsequent amendments in Act No. 56 of 1988 and Act No. 53 of 2000)

  • The National Environmental Act (No. 47 of 1980 with subsequent amendments in Act No. 56 of 1988 and Act No. 53 of 2000) provides the legal framework for the protection and management of the environment in Sri Lanka.  The National Environmental (Amendment) Act No. 56 of 1988 introduced EIA, as a part of the strategy to achieve sustainable development for the entire country assigning major regulatory function to the Central Environmental Authority, The National Environmental Act (NEA) defines the EIA procedure for development projects.

According the provisions of the NEA;

 

  • Part IV C of the Amended Act mandates that all "prescribed" development projects are required to undergo EIA process prior to implementation.  Large scale development projects that are likely to have significant impacts on environment are listed as prescribed projects. If "prescribed projects" are located in "environmental sensitive areas", such projects are required to undergo EIA irrespective of their magnitude. The prescribed projects are listed in the Gazette No 772/22 of 24th June 1993, 1104/22 of 5th November 1999 and 1108/1 of 29th November 1999.
     
  • The NEA stipulates that processing of application for considering environmental approval for prescribed projects is to be carried out by Project Approving Agency (PAA). At present, 23 Government Agencies are designated as PAAs. A single PAA is responsible for administrating the EIA process for a project. When there is more than one PAA is involved, the appropriate PAA is decided by the CEA. It is important to note that when a state agency is a PP, it can not function as a PAA for that project. PAAs are listed in the Gazette Extra Ordinary No. 859/14 of 23rd February 1995 and Gazette Extra Ordinary No. 1373/6 of 29th December 2004.
     
  • The NEA has identified two levels in the EIA process. If the environmental impacts of the project are not very significant then the PP may be asked to do an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), which is a relatively short and simple study. However, if the potential impacts appear to be more significant, the PP may be asked to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is a more detailed and comprehensive study of environmental impacts. The PP is responsible to submit either an IEE or EIA report in respect of any prescribed project based on the Terms of Reference (ToR) issued by the PAA.
     
  • EIA reports must be kept open for public inspection and comments for mandatory 30 working days. IEE reports have been exempted from this requirement. However, an IEE report shall be deemed to be a public document for the purposes of sections 74 and 76 of the Evidence Ordinance (Chapter 21) and shall be open for inspection by the public.

B . EIA under the Coast Conservation Act No. 57 of 1981 as amended by Act No. 49 of 2011

In Sri Lanka, EIA is first introduced by the Coast Conservation Act No. 57 of 1981 as amended by Act No. 49 of 2011. This applies to projects that come within the "Coastal Zone" as defined by the Coast Conservation Act.  The requirement of EIA is left to the discretion of the Director General, Coast Conservation & Coastal Resource Management Department (CC & CRMD).


C . EIA in the Fauna and Flora Protection Act (FFPA) No 49 of 1993 as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009

EIA provisions are also included in the Fauna and Flora Protection Act No. 49 of 1993 as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009. According to this Act, any development activity of any description what so ever proposed to be established within one mile from the boundary of any National Reserve declared under FFPA is required to be subject to an EIA, and written approval should be obtained from the Director General, Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) prior to implementation of such development / establishment.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2023 05:47

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