A new survey is set to provide invaluable insight into the environmental impact assessment approvals process.
The Office of the EPA has invited nearly 50 approvals managers, officers and consultants representing 20 proponents and five environmental consultants to offer formal feedback on their recent experience undergoing the EIA approvals process.
The survey, which closes in mid-April 2012, will complement opportunities for informal feedback such as participation in industry forums.
Managed by independent organisation Integral Development, the survey asks for the industries’ views on EIA approvals process initiatives since the formation of the Office of the EPA in November 2009.
OEPA General Manager Kim Taylor said an initial response rate of more than 50 per cent was promising.
“The EIA approvals process is a key part of the Government approvals process for development in Western Australia,” Mr Taylor said.
“Since the formation of the OEPA, we have been working with the EPA to enhance and streamline our processes.
“Feedback from the survey will be used to identify areas where further enhancements can be made to the EIA process and to the operations of the OEPA.”
Initiatives in the EIA approvals process
Over the last two years, the OEPA has been working with the EPA on initiatives to improve the EIA approvals process. These include:
- establishment of new Administrative Procedures for EIA;
- introduction of procedures for consultation with proponents on draft approvals conditions;
- changes to procedures for Environmental Scoping Documents (ESDs) with no ESD required, or OEPA/EPA prepared ESDs for simpler assessments;
- greater use of Not Assessed; section 45C changes to proposal and Assessment on Proposal Information (API), where appropriate for more efficient assessment.
In addition, Environmental Assessment Guidelines and Environmental Protection Bulletins were released for:
In parallel with this OEPA has initiated an internal program aimed at enhancing its service culture in the delivery of EIA.
The department is also establishing a single electronic point of receipt for all submissions.