PROPOSED AGRICULTURAL EXPANSION ON FARM 474 WELGEGUND, NEAR CERES, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE: NOTIFICATION OF SUBMISSION OF THE APPLICATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION AND AVAILABILITY OF THE DRAFT BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT

BASIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORTING PROCESS: DEA&DP Ref No.: 16/3/3/6/7/1/B5/2/1301/21

Heritage Western Cape Ref No.: 21051710SB0518E

Witzenberg Properties (Pty) Ltd (hereafter referred to as “the Applicant”) proposes the expansion of agricultural land on Farm 474 (C01900000000047400000) near Ceres in the Witzenberg Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province.

The Applicant proposes to expand agricultural activities on the Farm 474 Welgegund, which would include the clearance of approximately 14.4 ha of indigenous vegetation for the plantation of apple orchards, with irrigation under an existing enlistment. The expansion comprises one section of 15.1 ha of proposed orchards. Internal access roads are proposed within this footprint and the roads would be less than 4 m in width. Access to the area will be obtained by using existing farm roads. A screening study was conducted by the botanical, freshwater, heritage and terrestrial faunal specialists in 2021 to inform the project design. The preferred development layout has been designed utilizing an iterative opportunities and constraints mapping process, which has made use of specialists’ inputs, as well as soil suitability and slope steepness considerations. The preferred layout alternative avoids an area of medium botanical sensitivity, where the presence of a habitat specialist Species of Conservation Concern (SCC) has been identified.

Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants has been appointed by Witzenberg Properties (Pty) Ltd to undertake the requisite Environmental Impact Assessment process for the proposed project (in this case, a Basic Assessment Reporting (BAR) process) in accordance with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (No. 107 of 1998), as amended, EIA Regulations (2014).

The Draft Basic Assessment Report has been made available to the public for review for a 30-day comment period and is downloadable via the link below. Registered Interested & Affected Parties (I&APs) have 30 days, i.e. until 4 April 2022 to submit comments related to the proposed project and the aforementioned documents. Any comments received from I&APs will be incorporated into a Comments and Response Report CRR(2) and included in the Final Basic Assessment Report, which will be submitted to DEADP for decision-making.

The main changes to the BAR, relative to the Pre-Application version of the BAR that was available for comment from 5 November 2021 – 6 December 2021 are as follows:

  • Updates to the text of the report, to incorporate and address I&AP comments raised during the Pre-Application Basic Assessment Report phase.
  • Appendix F (i.e. the Public Participation Process information) has been updated via the inclusion of all Public Participation information arising from the 30 day I&AP comment period on the Pre-Application BAR, including comments received from I&APs during the Pre-Application phase and the project teams responses to I&AP comments (refer to the Comments and Responses Report (CRR1) included in Appendix F7 of the BAR).
  • Appendix H (the EMPr) has been updated to address I&AP comments raised during the Pre-Application Basic Assessment Report phase.
  • Appendix Q has been added to the BAR, which includes a copy of the updated “Application for Environmental Authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 (as amended 7 April 2017)” for the proposed project, which was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) on 1 March 2022.

Should you have any comments, issues or concerns regarding the proposed project or the findings of the Draft Basic Assessment Report, please provide your comments in writing to Tilly Watermeyer of Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants, by email, fax or post (Fax: 086 653 1765, email: tilly@hollandandassociates.net or post: PO Box 31108, Tokai, 7966), on or before 4 April 2022.

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