Singapore: From 2023, consultants engaged in assessing the environmental impacts of development projects on local biodiversity will be centrally managed by the National Parks Commission (NParks) rather than developers.

In announcing this on Saturday (August 27), Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said authorities will be piloting this approach on new Housing Development Board (HDB) and JTC development projects that require Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). said.

“This move further enhances the EIA framework by enhancing industry-wide standards and integrating information on Singapore’s biodiversity,” NParks said in a media release.

Under the current EIA framework, development projects with potential impacts close to sensitive natural areas, marine or coastal areas, or with transboundary impacts undergo a detailed consultation process.

During this process, the technical agency will determine if an EIA is required.

An EIA typically consists of a baseline study, environmental impact assessment, mitigation development, and an environmental management and monitoring plan.

The developer should consult the relevant technical agency on the scope of the EIA and ask a consultant to investigate.

Also, the report should be shared with relevant agencies and the public.

Moving forward, NParks said it will involve EIA consultants through a centralized demand aggregation tender.

We also directly manage our consultants on behalf of our agency.

“This will allow NParks to work more closely with consultants to standardize research methodologies and develop industry best practice guidelines,” the agency said.

Information from various EIAs will be integrated into a central biodiversity database to facilitate long-term monitoring and research, he added.

The move will reduce the time required for development agencies to solicit bids and for consultants to prepare tenders for each project, NParks said.

“This leads to potential time and cost savings by minimizing duplicate work,” he added.

The new approach to managing consultants follows a discussion of how authorities could strengthen the EIA framework after a forest area in Kranji was accidentally cleared last year before an environmental survey was completed.

Lee said the authorities would later decide whether to introduce the new approach, including NParks, to all government projects.

“We remain committed to protecting our natural heritage and transforming Singapore into a city of nature,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

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