Risky digging at Lunga to be issued with stop notice

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BY GEORGINA KEKEA

AJ Company that is currently digging gravel at the eastern side of the Lunga Bridge will be issued with a stop work notice from the Environment Division.

Island Sun understands that officials from the Environment Division of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management and Meteorology (MECDM) yesterday met with officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) over issues surrounding the operations of AJ Company.

From the meeting yesterday it was revealed that AJ Company had never applied for a development consent from the Environment division.

The development consent is very crucial and must be obtained first before development can take place.

However for the case of AJ Company, they have never applied for a development consent and the location of their operation is deemed risky for the general public.

The Environment division says they understand the project at hand for AJ is the construction of a building.

However, the construction is taking place in an area called ‘alluvial soil deposit’.

“Therefore it is very important that this Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is done first so that we can gather what the associated risks are with this kind of development. If the project is big, we will ask the developer to do a full scale assessment in which they will have to meet all the expenses.”

Information from the Environment division says, in all building projects, EIAs must be carried out first and development consent be granted before construction can take place.

Not only does consent has to come from the Environment division but also Town and country planning Board must also give approval to building plans and other nitty gritty that are very crucial for any development.

“Under law, there are approved consultants that will carry out the EIA. And for big structures, it will need at least baseline information as this might be risky for the public and those living downstream. So a yes or no for construction to proceed will be made once an EIA is carried out.

“But at this time, AJ Company will be issued with a stop notice. And then they are required to submit their application from which we will gather what their intentions are.

“They must include the necessary details of their application like digging of gravel, constructing a building and if they had considered the risk of flood and the impact it will have on their building.

“And for this assessment, EIA practitioners will assess the project site and report to the environment division the findings of the assessment.”

The Environment division says owners of the company will be inclined to pay a hefty fine or subjected to imprisonment if they rebuff the ‘stop notice’.

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