1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT FOR THE PROPOSED REHABILITATION OF THE N7 BETWEEN OKIEP AND STEINKOPF, NORTHERN CAPE NEAS Reference Number: DEA/EIA/ /2014 DEA Reference Number: 14/12/16/3/3/1/ INTRODUCTION The Suth African Natinal Rads Agency (SOC) Ltd (SANRAL) prpses t rehabilitate a 40 km lng sectin (Sectin 8) f Natinal Rad N7 (N7) lcated within the Nama Khi Lcal Municipality and the Namakwa District Municipality in the Nrthern Cape Prvince, between the twns f Okiep and Steinkpf, nrth f Springbk. Fur brrw pits will be utilised fr the prcurement f fill and selected subgrade material fr rad cnstructin. The N7 is a reginally imprtant rad fr the Nrthern Cape and the link t Namibia is identified as a benefit fr the lcal municipality and an pprtunity t grw turism in the regin. The Namakwa District Spatial Develpment Framewrk acknwledges that, as a natinally and reginally imprtant nrth-suth crridr, the N7 requires upgrading. The rehabilitatin f Sectin 8 f the N7 (and therefre the use f the brrw pits) is regarded as essential in rder t ensure cntinued safety f the N7 and t cntinually realise the ecnmic pprtunity that the N7 prvides. SRK Cnsulting (Suth Africa) (Pty) Ltd (SRK) has been appinted by UWP Cnsulting (Pty) Ltd, n behalf f SANRAL, t undertake the Basic Assessment (BA) prcess, which is required in terms f the Natinal Envirnmental Management Act 107 f 1998, as amended (NEMA), and the Envirnmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulatins, 2010 (prmulgated in terms f NEMA). See page 6 fr details n hw yu can participate in the prcess. 2 GOVERNANCE AND PLANNING FRAMEWORK Sectins 24 and 44 f NEMA make prvisin fr the identificatin f activities which may nt cmmence withut an Envirnmental Authrisatin (EA), and stipulate the requirements fr the assessment f such activities. The EIA Regulatins, 2010, are cntained in fur
2 Gvernment Ntices (GN) issued in terms f NEMA. GN R543 sets ut tw alternative prcedures fr authrisatin prcesses: depending n the type f activity that is prpsed, either a Basic Assessment (BA) prcess r a S&EIR prcess is required t apply fr EA frm the cmpetent authrity in this case the Natinal Department f Envirnmental Affairs (DEA). SRK has determined that the prpsed prject triggers activities listed in terms f Listing Ntices 1-3 f the EIA Regulatins, 2010 (Table 1). Table 1: Listed activities triggered by the prject N Descriptin Listing Ntice 1 (requiring BA) 39 The expansin f channels; bridges r bulk strmwater utlet structures, within a watercurse r within 32 m f a watercurse. 40 The expansin f infrastructure by mre than 50 m 2 within 32 m f a watercurse. 47 The widening f a rad by mre than 6 m where the rad reserve is wider than 13.5 m. Listing Ntice 3 (requiring BA in the sensitive areas) The clearance f an area f 300 m2 r mre f vegetatin 12 where 75% r mre cnstitutes indigenus vegetatin within critical bidiversity areas. The clearance f an area f 1 ha r mre f vegetatin where 75% r mre cnstitutes indigenus vegetatin 13 utside urban areas but within sensitive areas as identified in an envirnmental management framewrk. The clearance f an area f 5 ha r mre f vegetatin 14 where 75% r mre cnstitutes indigenus vegetatin in all areas utside urban areas. The widening f a rad by mre than 4 m in all areas 19 utside urban areas. The expansin f infrastructure by 10 m 2 r mre where 24 such cnstructin ccurs within a watercurse utside urban areas within CBAs. Cnsequently, the prpnent is bliged t apply fr EA fr the prject. Since activities listed under Listing Ntice 1 and 3 apply t the prject, a BA prcess is required. In terms f Sectin 106 (2) f the Mineral and Petrleum Resurces Develpment Act 28 f 2002 (as amended) (MPRDA) and the MPRDA Regulatins, 2004, an Envirnmental Management Prgramme (EMP), addressing brrw pit cnstructin, peratin and clsure will be submitted t the Department f Mineral Resurces fr apprval in terms f Sectin 39 (4) f the MPRDA. A Water Use Licence in terms f sectin 21 f the Natinal Water Act 36 f 1998 will be required frm the Department f Water Affairs. Water use activities that will be applicable t the prject are listed in Table 2. Table 2: NWA water use activities fr the prject N c i Descriptin Impeding r diverting the flw f water in a watercurse. Altering the bed, banks, curse r characteristics f a watercurse. A number f reginal plans and framewrks are applicable t the prject area and the prject is aligned with the bjective f these plans. 3 ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESS The EIA Regulatins, 2010, define the detailed apprach t the BA prcess. Figure 2: BA Prcess The bjectives f the BA prcess are t: Develp an understanding f the prject area; Develp an understanding f the prpsed develpment and hw it s related activities may ptentially impact n the surrunding envirnment; Identify relevant authrities and key stakehlders t engage in the stakehlder engagement prcess; Facilitate the disseminatin f infrmatin t the relevant authrities and stakehlders and prvide them with an pprtunity t raise issues r cncerns related t the prject; Identify ptential issues and envirnmental impacts; Assess the significance f the ptential envirnmental impacts identified; Describe and investigate alternatives that have been and / r culd be cnsidered; and Prvide feasible mitigatin measures t address any significant impacts identified. The abve bjectives are achieved thrugh the technical evaluatin f the prpsed activity, the undertaking f the
3 stakehlder engagement prcess and the submissin f the relevant infrmatin and dcumentatin t the DEA. 4 DESCRIPTION OF THE SITE AND ENVIRONMENT Sectin 8 f the N7 is lcated in a dry and remte area knwn as the Namaqualand, an area defined by wide pen spaces and undulating tpgraphy with intrusive granite dmes, utcrps and kppies. The largely uninhabited landscape is largely devid f human interventin a ntable quality f the Namaqualand. The Namakwa District Municipality has a typical arid t semi-arid climate. Rainfall is lw and unreliable. Summers have characteristically high temperatures and winters have mild t cld temperatures. Wind in the area is strngly seasnal: summer and spring are dminated by sutherly winds, while nrth-easterly winds are mre cmmn in autumn and winter. In arid areas such as that f the prject area, particulate matter (e.g. dust) generated by expsed sils (sparse vegetatin) and the mvement f vehicles cntribute t elevated dust levels. There are n significant surces f air pllutin in the area. Farming activities generate limited emissins, mainly airbrne particulates. It is therefre expected that air quality in the prject area is fairly gd. There are n significant surces f nise in the area, and very few nise receptrs exist lcally. Sme nise may be prpagated by vehicles travelling alng the N7, althugh levels f traffic are relatively lw. Nise generated in the urban areas f Okiep and Steinkpf result in higher ambient nise levels in these areas cmpared t the mre vacant expanse between Okiep and Steinkpf. The Skaap River, a nn-perennial river and tributary f the Dring River, flws adjacent t the N7 fr apprximately 20 km frm Okiep, crssing the N7 three times, where it then heads west t the Dring River. An unnamed tributary f the Dring River intersects the central sectin f the N7. The Dring River, als a nn-perennial river, is a majr tributary f the Buffels River and flws suth f Steinkpf and then t the west f the N7. Drainage lines are evident thrughut the prject area but these watercurses nly flw after lnger perids f rainfall (i.e. mstly in winter). The Natinal Freshwater Ecsystem Pririty Areas (SANBI BGIS, 2014) des nt identify any wetlands within the prject area. The prject area falls within the Succulent Karr bime, the Namaqualand Hardeveld biregin and the Namaqualand Klipkppe Shrubland and Namakqualand Blmveld vegetatin types. These vegetatin types are listed as Least Threatened. The Ratelprt Muntain range is identified as being an imprtant terrestrial migratin crridr. A CBA (Type 2) and Eclgical Supprt Area (ESA) have therefre been designated alng this range. Extensive dryland agriculture and lw intensity small stck farming cnstitute the predminant agricultural activities in the prject area. The prpsed brrw pits are lcated n sites f existing/histric brrw pits. Significant disturbance (excavatins, vegetatin clearance, sil ersin and dumping) is evident at these sites frm recent and histric brrw pit activity. 5 PROJECT DESCRIPTION The prpsed rehabilitatin f the N7 invlves the fllwing aspects: Resurfacing and widening f the rad t apprximately 10.4 m t accmmdate 3.7 m lane widths; Prviding surfaced shulders 1 m wide and gravel shulders 0.5 m wide n either side f the rad except where in hard cut where gravel shulders will be replaced with a cncrete side drain; Cnstructin f ten sectins f climbing lane (CL) with the fllwing crss-sectin: 3.7 m wide lanes; 1 m wide surfaced shulders n either side f the rad; and 0.5 m gravel shulders n either side f the rad except where in hard cut where gravel shulders will be replaced with a cncrete side drain. Upgrading f tw intersectins (MR789 and River Street) t prvide turning lanes; Frmalising the minr/farm accesses with cncrete edge beams; Lengthening f up t 21 majr culverts t accmmdate the widened rad prism; Lengthening f numerus minr prtal and pipe culverts t accmmdate the widened rad prism; and Rehabilitatin f the existing strmwater system including: Regravelling f the gravel shulder; Cleaning and/r deepening f rad-side earth drains; Cnstructin f cut-ff drains r berms at rad cuttings t reduce ptential rck-falls, ersin f the cut face and silting f the earth v-drains; Installatin f new subsil drains.
4 All rad cnstructin will be within the existing rad reserve and exprpriatin will nt be required. Fur brrw pits (r extensins t existing brrw pits) f less than 5 ha each will be utilised fr the prcurement f fill and subgrade material fr rad cnstructin. The brrw pits are lcated n municipal wned land n either side f the N7. 6 ALTERNATIVES The EIA Regulatins, 2010, require that all BA prcesses must identify and describe feasible and reasnable alternatives. The cnsulting engineers investigated a number f brrw pit sites fr material surces fr the prject. Seven brrw pit sites were investigated f which ne brrw pit site was eliminated as an ptin fllwing an envirnmental screening assessment undertaken by the btanical specialist and tw brrw pit sites were eliminated fllwing the specialist studies because f their prximity t watercurses. Since the prject cncerns the rehabilitatin and upgrade f an existing rad by SANRAL, n lay-ut alternatives were be cnsidered and n feasible technlgy alternatives fr the prpsed activity were identified. The n-g alternative implies that the lanes f this prtin f the N7 are nt widened, n surfaced r gravel shulders are prvided, n climbing lanes are cnstructed, intersectins are nt upgraded and the existing strmwater system is nt rehabilitated. Only necessary maintenance wrk such as resurfacing, imprvement f margins and sme imprvement f intersectin layut and signalling will be undertaken. The brrw pits will nt be required fr the n-g alternative. 7 STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Stakehlder engagement is a key cmpnent f the BA prcess and is being undertaken in accrdance with the requirements f the EIA Regulatins, The stakehlder engagement activities are summarised in Table 3 belw. Table 3: Stakehlder Engagement Activity Newspaper advertisement (in the Namakwalander and the Plattelander) t annunce the BA prcess and availability f the BA Reprt fr public review Placement f n-site psters t annunce the prpsed prject Release f BA Reprt t stakehlders fr public review and cmment Date July July July 2014 Activity Distributin f Executive Summary t key stakehlders Cmment perid fr BA Reprt Date 15 July July 25 August 2014 Relevant lcal, prvincial and natinal authrities, cnservatin bdies, lcal frums and surrunding landwners and ccupants have been directly ntified f the S&EIR prcess and the release f the Scping Reprt fr cmment. 8 POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS The fllwing specialists were cnsulted t identify and assess ptential issues and impacts within their particular field f study and t identify practicable mitigatin and ptimisatin measures t avid r minimise ptential negative impacts and/r enhance any benefits: Terrestrial eclgist; and Heritage specialist. Cpies f the specialist reprts are appended t the cmplete BA Reprt. Based n the prfessinal experience f the EAP and the specialists, the fllwing key envirnmental issues ptential negative impacts and ptential benefits have been identified (Table 4): Table 4: Significance f ptential impacts Ptential Impact Nuisance t surrunding receptrs caused by dust entrainment during cnstructin Nuisance t surrunding receptrs caused by excessive nise during cnstructin Lss f vegetatin, flral habitat and Species f Cnservatin Cncern during cnstructin Lss f freshwater habitat during cnstructin Cntaminatin f grundwater during cnstructin Lss f sil and land use capability during cnstructin Traffic delays and reduced rad safety during cnstructin Increased emplyment, incme and skills develpment during cnstructin Significance (Pst Mitigatin) Medium (-ve) Insignificant (-ve) Very Lw (+ve)
5 Ptential Impact Visual intrusin frm cnstructin activities Lss f cultural heritage resurces during cnstructin Lss f vegetatin during peratins Disturbance f freshwater habitat during peratins Imprved rad safety during peratins Alteratin f visual landscape N-g Alternative Fregne pprtunity t imprve rad safety and rehabilitate existing/histric brrw pits Significance (Pst Mitigatin) Medium (+ve) Medium (-ve) 9 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The brrw pits, including existing brrw pit prtins will be rehabilitated during the Cnstructin Phase. Nne f the freshwater features within the prject ftprint are regarded as being f exceptinal imprtance in terms f ecsystem functining, and n new crssings fr the rad upgrade are required (i.e. nly existing culverts will be upgraded). All f the ther predicted impacts f the prject during the Cnstructin and Operatinal Phases are f very lw negative significance (r insignificant) after mitigatin, r imprve the current situatin (represent a benefit), particularly with respect t rad user safety nce the rad upgrade is cmplete. A full suite f detailed recmmendatins is cntained in the Envirnmental Management Prgramme. The fllwing list summarises the mst pertinent recmmendatins specific t the implementatin f the prject: The N7 is a reginally imprtant rad fr the Nrthern Cape and the link t Namibia is identified as a strength fr the lcal municipality and an pprtunity t grw the ecnmy, particularly turism, in the regin. The Namakwa District Spatial Develpment Framewrk acknwledges that, as a natinally and reginally imprtant nrth-suth crridr, the N7 requires upgrading. The prpsed brrw pits will be utilised fr the prcurement f fill and selected subgrade material fr the rehabilitatin f the N7. The brrw pit activities will ccur n municipal wned land where brrw pit activities have generally already ccurred (i.e. land is already disturbed). In many instances, these areas were nt rehabilitated and there is evidence f sil ersin and illegal dumping, etc. The rehabilitatin f Sectin 8 f the N7 (and therefre the use f the brrw pits) is regarded as essential in rder t ensure cntinued safety f the N7 and t cntinually realise the ecnmic pprtunity that the N7 prvides. The mst ntable negative impacts f the prject relate t the lss f sme indigenus vegetatin and freshwater habitat. Hwever: All rad cnstructin/rehabilitatin activities will ccur in the prclaimed rad reserve where vegetatin has been significantly disturbed frm histric earthwrks assciated with the riginal develpment f the N7. The majrity f vegetatin at the prpsed brrw pit sites has been disturbed as a result f histric/recent brrwing activities and livestck grazing, and is cnsidered t be f a very lw t mderate Eclgical Imprtance and Sensitivity. Appint a suitably experienced Envirnmental Cntrl Officer (ECO) t versee and advise n site specific envirnmental management requirements. The ECO shuld be appinted fr the duratin f the cnstructin perid. Restrict climbing lanes alng the N7 t lw sensitivity areas, and avid the rcky utcrp areas, where pssible. Avid disturbing the raised embankment f the histric railway line as far as pssible. D nt damage the water twer lcated clse t the rad reserve. Avid the disturbance f high sensitivity rcky utcrp areas and incrprate a 10 m buffer zne arund these areas in which n excavatin activities are t take place. Maintain a 100 m buffer zne arund the brrw pits frm all natural drainage features. Cmmissin a suitably qualified prfessinal t undertake an additinal survey f the vegetatin within the prpsed brrw pit areas and within sensitive areas within the rad reserve during the spring flwering seasn and prir t vegetatin clearing. Obtain a permit fr the remval f any prtected r indigenus species as listed by Schedule 1, 2 and 3 f the NCNCA. Rehabilitate the prpsed brrw pit areas (refer t EMP fr Brrw Pits, Appendix G2) and all disturbed areas within the prject ftprint.
6 HOW YOU CAN YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE EIA PROCESS The BA Reprt is nt a final reprt and can be amended based n cmments received frm stakehlders. Stakehlders are therefre urged t participate: REVIEW THE REPORT The Basic Assessment Reprt (BAR) and EMP are available frm 15 July 2014 fr public review and cmment at the fllwing lcatins: Steinkpf Public Library; Okiep Public Library; SRK s Cape Twn ffice; and SRK s website: click n the Library and then Public Dcuments links. Stakehlders are invited t cmment, and/r t register n the prject database. Stakehlders shuld refer t the DEA reference numbers, and must prvide their cmments tgether with their name, cntact details (preferred methd f ntificatin, e.g. ), and an indicatin f any direct business, financial, persnal r ther interest which they have in the applicatin, t the cntact persn belw, by 25 August REGISTER OR PROVIDE YOUR OPINION Register r send written cmment t: Sctt Massn SRK Cnsulting Pstnet Suite #206, Private Bag X18, Rndebsch, 7701 Tel: Fax: Cmments must reach SRK n later than 25 August 2014 t be included in the Final Scping Reprt. Relevant Organs f State have been autmatically registered as stakehlders. Accrding t the EIA Regulatins, 2010, all ther persns must request in writing t be placed n the register, submit written cmments r attend meetings in rder t be registered as stakehlders and be included in future cmmunicatin fr the prject.
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