Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on companies carrying out construction near national parks and nature reserves
Aug 6, 2018 19:00
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are plans to impose penalties on companies which do not implement proposed wildlife and environmental mitigation measures when carrying out construction near national parks and nature reserves.
Development projects that are near to sensitive areas such as Nature Reserves, Nature Areas, areas of significant biodiversity, and marine and coastal areas, are required to undergo an in-depth consultation process with the relevant technical agencies. Where necessary, agencies will stipulate the environmental requirements that need to be met, and ensure that mitigating measures are put in place by the developer to minimise the environmental impact. Agencies will also work with developers to ensure that the recommended mitigation measures are implemented, through environmental monitoring and management programmes. Should the developers deviate from the measures, agencies will ask developers to take appropriate actions to rectify the situation.
If there is any unanticipated environmental impact or when the mitigation measures prove insufficient, developers will need to modify existing mitigation measures or put in additional mitigation measures, in consultation with the relevant agencies.
MND and the technical agencies are reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment framework to ensure that it remains robust and meets the intended objectives. As part of this review, we will study how best to ensure that mitigating measures are implemented in the right spirit, and whether there is a need to strengthen the penalties for non-compliance.
Today, developers who violate regulatory requirements already face penalties under the various environmental Acts. These include NEA’s Environmental Protection and Management Act, and PUB’s Sewerage and Drainage Act in relation to air, noise and water pollution, and NParks’ Parks and Trees Act in relation to activities within nature reserves and national parks.
For example, under the Parks and Trees Act, conducting activities within nature reserve and national parks which causes alteration, damage or destruction to any plant, or injury to or the death of any animal or any other organism, are considered offences. The penalty for these offences is a fine of up to $50,000, imprisonment of up to 6 months or both. A fine of up to $500 is further imposed for every day or part of the day which the offence continues after conviction.