The "issue list" collated from comments which pertain to this theme include:
A big problem remains that consultants are paid by the developers, and therefore have influence over them. The system for environmental auditing which removes this direct dependence on the developer should be applied to EIAs as well.
An agency? Decentralisation? Appeal tribunals? Formalised external reviews?
Bribes – expectation of favours
Build trust in government and EAPs’ handling of EIA processes
Capacity in the industry – the concern raised is that the industry does not provide their environmental managers adequate authority to influence decision making within the industry. The proposal made, was that more authority is needed to be assigned to environmental managers.
DEA must appoint and rate EAPs and officiate over political decision making
DEAT must appoint an independent body that rates consultants. This body should be changed on an annual basis.
DEAT must ensure that the political positioning of DEAT officials and developers do not to influence the decision making process
DEAT must officiate the exchange of all funds in full subscription to the NEMA principle that the consultant has no financial or other interest in the undertaking of proposed activity.
EAPs must sign applications on behalf of their clients, even in situations where they advise against the development. It should be clear that the applicant is, disregarding or accepting the findings of the practitioner and taking responsibility for the submission (even if only as far as reading what they are signing).
EIAs are mostly undertaken for projects that have already been defined. This is heavily prejudiced by the fact that the environmental consultant is employed by the applicant/developer. They cannot guarantee to be operating independently.
Exploitation of favours on economic lines should end and be re-balanced.
How can we trust the consultant in EIA . How can we trust anyone in EA&M process?
Independence of consultants
Management of independence of EAPs
Many environmental consultants are biased towards their clients. EIA procedures are often not followed properly by consultants and their clients, and this is not always rectified. Corruption is a real problem – between consultants and proponents, as well as officials and proponents
Can EAPs working in consulting engineering companies apply for exemption from being independent? Can they be protected through certification?
EAPs and spatial planners
EAPs must get certified as soon as possible to ensure better reports and accountability to gain trust from NGOs etc.
Inadequate number of experienced persons within the regulatory system dealing with EIAs.
What level of certification is to be required for an EAP to undertake a BAR and EIA respectively?