discussed item by item below, and which should be considered by a proponent when putting together an Environmental Report for an industrial estate.
The result of impact assessment may be to recommend the rejection of a particular site and point to the choice of alternatives. All the impacts identified in this Chapter can be present in varying degrees at a site. If an impact does not rule out the site altogether, certain mitigation measures may be necessary.
Site selection issues
The process of site selection for industrial estates is one area where environmental assessment can be most useful, but this is only the case where assessment is included early in the process and before decisions regarding siting options are taken. The Environmental Report should be started at the earliest possible stage so that real alternatives can be considered. Identifying the potential impacts associated with each site and comparing sites on that basis causes environmental issues to come to light early in the process. It allows project planners and designers to properly consider all possible ways of avoiding potential impacts. Where it is possible to avoid impacts and mitigation is accepted as part of the project costs, the opportunity to select a more appropriate alternative site can lead to the increased efficiency of measures designed to mitigate impacts and a reduction in the associated costs of such measure.
For impact identification to be effective at site selection level it is important that certain information is available at a regional level. It is important that sites of special importance are first of all identified and the long term value of such sites is recognised. Where possible it will help if some quantification is given to the value of the resource. The loss or disruption of such resources can then be recognised and valued in relation to the need for industry and jobs. Adequate Provincial/regional planning policies are required to provide a framework which can assist in the site selection process. Measures which could be employed include:
zoning or identification of land of prime agricultural importance
identify sites which have special habitat significance or species diversity
identify sites of special cultural and historical interest
identify areas of land with constraints upon development— land liable to flooding etc.
To avoid siting of industrial estates in sensitive, difficult or unsafe areas a database should, therefore, be developed to identify and map the principal environmental resources. This is probably best done at Provincial level and would identify and map environmental resources such as major drainage patterns, freshwater and coastal wetlands, forests and other important natural habitats, prime agricultural land etc. An analysis of this nature can eliminate from consideration the least suitable sites. Exclusion Criteria are developed in 3.2.8 below.
3.2.1. Displacement of existing land use and other environmental resources
Important land uses and economic activity can be lost to industrial estates. One of the most important uses to protect is prime agricultural land and it is vital that such land is identified and mapped to assist planners in making optimal choices.
3.2.2. Destruction of environmentally sensitive and critical areas
Wetlands, forests, major water bodies and other areas containing rare and endangered species can all be threatened by new industrial estates. Such environments have a value to society as a whole and should be given special consideration. The value of such resources has to be weighed against the positive benefits of income and job generation. The reader is referred to “Guidelines for sensitive and critical areas” which is part of this package of Guidelines (see Section 1.2)