There are severe criticisms and perceptions of inadequacy about the success of the current EIA system as a tool for environmental impact management.
The concerns voiced relate to both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the system.
There are concerns about time frames and costs (direct and indirect) for conducting studies and inefficiencies in administrative and decision-making processes.
The current environmental impact management system tends to use EIA as the only legislative tool for impact assessment and management. It is often seen as a “magic wand” despite the fact that the tool has limitations. EIA is often not the most appropriate tool to use, especially in the case where the impacts are minimal or low, in which case the tool becomes rather “heavyhanded.”
A common complaint from Interest and Affected Parties (I&APs) and civil society is that the environment is not being effectively protected, and there is tendency from this sector to call for tighter regulations and more consultation.
Environmental Impact Management is seldom complemented by strategic tools. Environmental Frameworks (EMFs) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) are applied within limitations and mostly on a voluntary basis.