Consultation on the intention to publish the National Biodiversity Offset Guideline
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is consulting on her intention to publish a draft biodiversity offset guideline (Draft Guideline) under section 24J of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA). The purpose of the Draft Guideline is to give guidance on implementing biodiversity offsets in the environmental impact assessment context.
Biodiversity offsetting is one of the required measures for mitigating the impact of development on biodiversity. It takes the form of an intervention aimed at improved protection for, and appropriate management of, biodiversity. If done correctly, the biodiversity outcome as a result of the intervention counterbalances the negative impact of an activity on biodiversity. Biodiversity offsetting is only required if, after all other efforts have been made to avoid and minimise negative impacts on biodiversity, and to rehabilitate the area impacted by the activity, there is still a significant residual biodiversity impact.
The Draft Guideline sets out the fundamental principles for biodiversity offsetting in South Africa. It also gives some guidance on when biodiversity offsets are required, how to determine the requirements for biodiversity offsets and how to ensure that the biodiversity offset requirements are binding on the person liable for implementing the biodiversity offset.
If published, the Draft Guideline would not be legally binding, but NEMA competent authorities would be required to consider the Draft Guideline when when taking decisions regarding environmental authorisation applications.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments or inputs within 30 days after the publication of the Notice in the Government Gazette. The comments can be submitted by post to the Director-General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment for the attention of Ms P Kershaw, at Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that comments or inputs received after the specified timeframe may not be considered.
Any inquiries in connection with the notice can be directed to Ms Pamela Kershaw at the following email address: email@example.com.
A copy of the Government Notice can be found on the Department's website through the following link: https://www.dffe.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices