EARTH Thailand

HIA, EIA regulation approved

The Nation 30 December 2009 | Hassaya Chartmontri

The Cabinet yesterday approved the ministerial regulation concerning the need for environmental impact assessment (EIA) and health impact assessment (HIA) reports.

The regulation requires any project or activity that could severely affect communities' environment and health to submit both types of report to the authorities, said deputy government spokesman Phumin Leetheeraprasert.

The permanent secretary for the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Saksit Tridech, said the regulation would be announced in the Royal Gazette and should be in effect from today.

Projects affected by the regulation are particularly those in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, where 65 projects have been suspended by an Administrative Court ruling, he said.

The ministerial regulation is backed by Article 67 (2) of the 2007 Constitution and the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning has already issued guidelines on producing EIAs and HIAs. Therefore, Saksit said, businesses must comply if they want their projects to proceed.

By the time they complete what is required under the regulation, the independent organisation on the environment and health should be set up, he added.

In September, the Central Administrative Court ordered 76 industrial projects in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, which was earlier declared a pollutioncontrol zone, to temporarily halt operations amid concern over environmental and health impacts. The Supreme Administrative Court later said 11 of the 76 projects could however proceed.