Belize

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EIA profile

Updated to: 27 June 2011

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

The Department of the Environment (DOE)
10/12 Ambergris Avenue
Belmopan City, Belize
Central America

Tel: (501) 822–2816/ 822–2542
Fax: (501) 822–2862

E-mail: envirodept@btl.net
Website: www.doe.gov.bz/

History of EIA

Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

Until the enactment of the Environmental Protection Act in 1992 (gazetted on November 28th, 1992), Belize had no comprehensive environmental protection legislation. The Environmental Protection Act (No. 22) established the Department of the Environment (DOE), and entrusted it the responsibility to monitor the implementation of the Act and subsequent regulations, as well as to take necessary action to enforce the provisions of the Act and regulations.
In April 2009, the Environmental Protection Act was amended (No. 5, gazetted on April 25th, 2009). 
In 1995, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations were enforced (Statutory Instrument-SI- No. 107), by the Minister of Tourism and the Environment (gazetted on September 30th, 1995).
Later, in March 2007, the EIA Regulations were amended (gazetted on March 24th, 2007) through the Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 24 (named EIA Amendment Regulations of 2007).

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base

1992

Environmental protection Act, 1992 Lee, N., George, C. (2000), Environmental Assessment in Developing and Transitional Countries, Wiley Publishers, Chichester

1992

Legal framework for EIA

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Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets a framework for EIA.

The legal framework is the Environmental Protection Act (No. 22 of 1992), which was amended in 2009 (No. 5), and  regulated by the EIA Regulations of 1995 (SI No. 107) and the EIA Amendment Regulations of 2007 (SI No. 24).

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

The House of Representatives and the Senate of Belize.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

The EIA procedures are described in the EIA Regulations, 1995 (SI No. 107), referred to as the principal regulations, which were amended by the SI No. 24 of 2007 (EIA Amendment Regulations, 2007).

1995

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re

The EIA Regulation (SI No. 107), that took effect on 1995 was modified in 2007 through the SI No. 24 (EIA Amendment Regulations). Also the Environmental Protection Act (No. 22 of 1992) was amended in 2009 (No. 5).

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA

Any existing sectoral procedural or content regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

  • National Guidelines for Overwater Structures.
  • Crop Protection Product Packaging Disposal Guidelines.
  • Environmental Code of Practice for the Automotive Repair Industry.
  • Environmental Code of Practice for Automotive Spray Painting.
  • Draft Environmental Health and Sanitation Guidelines for the Fiberglass Industry.
  • Environmental Guidelines for Depots and Distribution Outlets for Liquified Petroleum Gases (Lpg).
  • Environmental Guidelines For Service Stations.

Guidelines

Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.

  • Environmental management guidelines for the tourism and infrastructure sectors were developed and translated by the EIA project for Central America, a tool for sustainable development from IUCN and CCAD.
  • Environmental checklist.
  • Specific checklists done by the EIA project for Central America, a tool for sustainable development (IUCN and CCAD) for the sectors of mining, petroleum, tourism, light industry, construction and agriculture.
  • Guideline of requirements for EIA (brochures).
  • The Guide for Developers which was actualized by the EIA project for Central America, a tool for sustainable development from IUCN and CCAD.
  • Guideline or procedures for the preparation of an EIA.

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

According to the definition of EIA on the amendment of Regulation 2 from the SI No. 24 of 2007, the objective is to identify, predict, evaluate, mitigate and manage the environmental, and key social and economic impacts of developing projects, enterprises, programmes, policies or activities, as well as to report them in a written EIA report. 

Scope of EIA application

Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)

Section 20 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act (No. 22 of 1992) establishes that any person intending to undertake any project, programme or activity which may significantly affect the environment, shall carry out an EIA by a suitably qualified person, and submit the same to the DOE for evaluation and recommendations.
However, the scope of EIA application is amplified on its definition on the amendment of Regulation 2 from the SI No. 24 of 2007, when it declares that EIA needs to be done for developing projects, enterprises, programmes, policies or activities.

Exemptions from EIA application

Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).

According to Regulation 9 from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007, an EIA is not required for:

  • educational and health projects (except building construction);
  • computer processing projects;
  • projects to be carried out during declared national emergency for which temporary measures have been taken by the Government.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?

The Ministry of Natural Resources of Belize is the environmental authority in Belize. However, according to Section 4 (m) of the Environmental Protection Act (No. 22 of 1992), the DOE, which is an administrative entity of the Ministry of Natural Resources, is in charge of examining and evaluating and, if necessary, carrying out environmental impact assessments and risk analyses and making suitable recommendations to mitigate the harmful effects of any proposed action on the environment.
In addition, Regulation 25 (1) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), establishes that the functions of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) are:

  • review all EIAs;
  • advise the DOE of the adequacy or otherwise of EIA;
  • (c) advise the DOE of circumstances where a public hearing is desirable or necessary;
  • make recommendations to the Department on ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the EIA process. 

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).

According to Regulation 9 from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007, an EIA should not be required in respect of:

  • educational and health projects (except building construction);
  • computer processing projects;
  • projects to be carried out during declared national emergency for which temporary measures have been taken by the Government.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen

DOE is in charge of examining and evaluating the EIA. However, the National Environmental Appraisal Committee reviews and recommends on the approval of an EIA.

EIA procedure

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Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?

According to Regulation 7 from the SI No. 107 of 1995, all enterprises, projects or activities specified in Schedule I require an EIA. The scope and extent of the EIA should be determined by the DOE.
Regulation 8 from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007, establish DOE as the one determining whether any of the undertakings, projects or activities specified in Schedule II requires an EIA or a Limited Level Environmental Study (LLES).
According to EIA Amendment Regulations of 2007 (SI No. 24), Schedule III provides guidelines to be used or followed, by permitting and/or licensing agencies to determine whether a project, programme, undertaking or activity should be referred or sent to the DOE for Environmental Clearance.

Screening process

Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested

All persons, agencies, institutions (whether public or private), unless exempted, before starting a proposed project or activity, should apply to the DOE to determine whether such project requires an EIA (Regulation 3 (2) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
Therefore to be able to identify the EIA process, the relevant significant environmenta1 issues should be identified and examined at an early stage before starting the project (Regulation 4 (1) and (2) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
The EIA system in Belize establishes three categories or schedules (I, II and III), of proposed projects or activities, which may or may not require an EIA or LLES.
The amendment 10 (2) from the SI No. 24 of 2007, also mentions that when DOE decides that neither an EIA nor a LLES is required, then the developer may proceed with the development of the project, following the granting of the environmental clearance by the DOE and the payment of an environmental monitoring fee.

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

According to the amendment of Schedule I (on 14 (l) of the SI No. 24 of 2007), any proposed development project, undertaking or activity within any protected area (terrestrial and marine) requires an EIA.
Also the amendment of Schedule II (on 4 (a) of the SI No. 24 of 2007), corresponding to the dredging for land reclamation and/or creation for projects utilizing a volume of material of less than 50,000 cubic yards along the coast, reefs and ecologically sensitive areas, requires an EIA or a LLES.
The Schedule III amendment of the SI No. 24 of 2007, establishes the following projects, to be referred or sent to the DOE for Environmental Clearance:

  • All applications for development near or in ecologically sensitive areas such as but not limited to swamps, marshes, mangrove forest, lagoons, barrier reef, flood plain etc.) (2 on the Schedule III amendment).
  • All applications for development within or in close proximity to any protected area (3 (a) on the Schedule III amendment).
  • Proposals at sites which are in close proximity to vulnerable areas (unstable soils, gully, stream banks or steep slopes more than 25 degrees) (7 on the Schedule III amendment).
Contents of the starting document

Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.

According to Regulation 5 and 11 from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007, the EIA process to be followed, is identified by presenting to the DOE, before beginning the project, a notification of the proposed activities (providing details and information as the DOE may require) with the following minimum requirements:

  • a description of the proposed activities;
  • a description of the potentially affected environment, including specific information necessary to identify and assess the environmental effect of the proposed activities;
  • a description of the practical activities, as apropriate;
  • an assessment of the likely or potential environmental impacts of the proposed activities and the alternatives, including the direct and indirect, cumulative, short-term and long-term
    effects;
  • an identification and description of measures available to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the proposed activity or activities and assessment of those mitigative measures;
  • an indication of gaps in knowledge and uncertainty which may be encountered in compiling the required information.
Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.

The DOE receives the notification of the proposed activities with the minimum requirements, and examines, within 30 days of the receipt, the information contained there in to determine whether an EIA is required or not (Regulation 14 from the SI No. 107 of 1995).

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

When the DOE determines that there is a need for an EIA or an LLES (Schedules I and II), it is necessary to define the scope, by establishing the terms of reference.

Scoping process

Describes who carries main responsibility to undertake scoping and what the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties during the process are. Specifically, is there independent formulation and/or review of the scoping document, approval of the scoping document? Are any methods prescribed, e.g. participation, checklists. What guidance is provided?

Regulation 6 (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), declares that whenever the DOE determines that there is a need for an EIA (for the projects corresponding to Schedules I or II) and LLES (schedule II), the developer should proceed with the drafting of the terms of reference and submit them to DOE (amendment of Regulation 10 (1) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).
The DOE should then examine the draft terms of reference submitted, to determine whether they are adequate for the EIA. When the draft terms of reference are unsatisfactory, the DOE will direct the developer to modify the draft in such manner as the DOE deems necessary (Regulation 16 (1), (2) and (3) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
Finally, when the terms of reference have been agreed between the developer and the DOE, and the DOE has given their approval, the developer can start the EIA and submit it to the DOE by the specified date (Regulation 17 from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
Upon receiving the EIA, the DOE examines the EIA to determine whether it complies with the previously-agreed terms of reference (Regulation 21 (1) (b) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
Regulation 13 (2) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), also establishes the possibility of the developer to request the DOE, to provide him with guidelines for the preparation of an EIA for a fee.

Contents of the scoping document

Explains if there are there specific requirements for the content of the scoping document, and if so, what these are.

Regulation 15 (1) and (2) from the SI No. 107 of 1995, pronounces that the developer should submit, in writing, a draft terms of reference of an EIA to the DOE, which should contain the information required by the DOE.
Additionally, Regulation 17 from the SI No. 107 of 1995, mentions that when the terms of reference have been agreed between the developer and the DOE, their approval will be given in writing by the DOE.

Timeline scoping

Number of (working) days for the decision on approval of the scoping document by the competent authority.

Not specified.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.

Once the terms of reference approval is given by the DOE to the developer, the EIA should be carried out by a suitable qualified person. Then, the EIA or LLES has to be submitted to the DOE for evaluation and recommendations.

According to the amendment of Regulation 2 (SI No. 24 of 2007), a suitably qualified person, is who has an academic training, technical expertise, and knowledge in the field of natural sciences, and believed to be relevant to the preparation of an EIA report. 

The project should be assessed with a view to protect and improve human health and living conditions and the need to preserve the reproductive capacity of eco-systems as well as the diversity of species (Section 20 (4) of the Environmental Protection Act No. 22 of 1992).

Contents of the EIA report

Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.

Regulation 19 (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), enlists the content of an EIA report as follows:

  • Cover Page: A single page listing the title of the proposed project and its location; the name, address, and telephone number of a contact person, a designation of the report as draft or final;
  • Summary: A summary of the proposed project, preferably not exceeding 15 pages in length, accurately and adequately describing the contents of the EIA report. The summary should highlight the conclusions, areas of controversy and issues remaining to be resolved;
  • Table of Contents: A list and page number index of the chapters, sections and subsections in the EIA report, including a list of tables and a list of figures and appendices;
  • Policy, Legal and administrative Framework: Any policy, legal or administrative issues that may have an impact on the proposed development;
  • A description of the development proposed, comprising information about the site, the design and size and scale of the development, and its immediate surroundings;
  • A description of the environment (local and regional);
  • Significant Environmental Impacts. The data necessary to identify and assess the main effects, which the proposed development is likely to have on the environment;
  • A description of the likely significant effects, direct and indirect, on the environment of the development, explained by reference to its possible impact on: human beings; flora; fauna; soil; water; air; climate; material assets, including the cultural heritage and landscape; natural resources; the ecological balance; and any other environmental factors which need to be taken into account;
  • A presentation of all reasonable alternatives in comparative form, exploring each alternative, including the no-action alternative, and the reason why certain alternatives were recommended or eliminated. The object is to identify the least environmentally damaging alternative that satisfies the basic purpose and the need for the proposed action;
  • Environmental consequences of the project as proposed, and the alternatives, identifying any adverse effects that cannot be avoided if the action is implemented, all mitigation measures to be employed to reduce adverse effects, the relationship between short-term uses of the environment and the enhancement of long-term productivity, and any irretrievable or irreversible commitments of resources that would occur if the action were implemented as proposed;
  • A mitigation plan;
  • A monitoring plan;
  • lnter-agency and public/non-governmental organizations involvement;
  • Report on public hearings or public consultations (if any);
  • A summary in non-technical terms of the language specified above;
  • A list, accompanied by a summary of the resume, of all those persons that participated in the development of the EIA report.  

Review

Review process

Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review

According to Regulation 21 (1) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995), upon receiving the EIA, the DOE:

  • may ask for copies to be made available for inspection by interested persons;
  • shall examine the EIA or cause the same to be examined to determine whether it complies with the previously-agreed terms of reference; and
  • shall examine the EIA or cause it to be examined to determine whether:
    1. further environmental assessment is required; or
    2. any significant harmful impact is indicated.

When an EIA is deficient in any respect, the DOE, may on the recommendation of the NEAC, require the developer:

  • to conduct further work or studies;
  • to supply further information;
  • to amend the EIA accordingly; and
  • to resubmit the EIA by a later mutually agreeable date (Regulation 23 from the SI No. 107 of 1995).

Until the developer has supplied the additional information to the satisfaction of the DOE, the EIA is considered to not be completed (Regulation 22 (3) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).

Review expertise

Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?

The NEAC is in charge of helping the DOE to review all EIAs and advise the DOE, on the adequacy of an EIA (Regulation 25 (1) from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).

Timeline Review

Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.

Not specified the timeline to supply the complete information of an EIA.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.

According to section 20 (7) of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009 (No. 5), the decision by the DOE to approve an EIA, is subject to:

  • the signing of an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP),
  • the payment of an environmental monitoring fee,
  • posting of guarantees or performance bonds, and
  • other conditions that may be reasonably required for environmental purposes.
Competent authority

Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.

DOE, with the recommendation of the NEAC, makes the decision to approve an EIA or a LLES, by granting an Environmental Clearance (amendment of Regulation 2 of the SI No. 24 of 2007).

Decision justification

Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).

With the recommendation of NEAC, and upon the signing of an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP), the payment of an environmental monitoring fee, the posting of guarantees or performance bonds, and other conditions that may be reasonably required for environmental purposes, DOE makes the decision to approve an EIA or a LLES (Section 20 (7) of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009, No. 5), by granting an Environmental Clearance (amendment of Regulation 2 and 22A (1) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).

According to amendment of Regulation 2 (SI No. 24 of 2007), an ECP is a legally binding document developed by the DOE, when approval is recommended, consisting of a set of environmental conditions, guidelines, policies and restrictions which the developer or his representative, agrees to in writing to abide by as conditions for project approval.

According to amendment of Regulation 22A (2) (of the SI No. 24 of 2007), the developer cannot proceed with the project, until the developer has received the Environmental Clearance from the DOE.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

The decision is not published.
However, in order to approve an EIA or LLES, the Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP), which is a legally binding document with the environmental conditions established by DOE, needs to be signed by the developer.
Furthermore, an Environmental Clearance is the EIA or LLES approval by the DOE, stipulated in the form of a letter.    

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

Regulation 22 (1) and (2) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995), sets up sixty days, after the completed EIA has been received, for the DOE to inform the developer of its decision. Until then the developer cannot proceed with the project.

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p

The monitoring plan is established as one of the contents of an EIA report according to Regulation 19 from the SI No. 107 of 1995.
Additionally, the granting of an Environmental Clearance by the DOE, depends upon, among others, the signing of an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) by the developer, which according to amendment of Regulation 2 (SI No. 24 of 2007), is a legally binding document that consists of a set of environmental conditions, guidelines, policies and restrictions which the developer or his representative, agrees to comply.
According to section 22 and 23A (2) of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009 (No. 5), every person who fails to execute its ECP or any regulation made thereunder, commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine or to imprisonment.

External monitoring

Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?

Not specified.

Non-compliance penalties

Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)

When a developer appeals against the DOE’s decision of not letting a project proceed, it does not have the effect of suspending the decision (Regulation 27D from EIA Amendment Regulation, SI No. 24 of 2007).
An offence is committed when:
• Every person who fails to carry out an EIA or any conditions imposed by the DOE or fails to execute its ECP. In this case shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less that $50,000 and not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both fine and imprisonment (section 22 of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009, No. 5).
• Every person who fails to carry out an LLES or any conditions imposed by the DOE or fails to execute its ECP. In this case shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less that $20,000 and not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both fine and imprisonment (section 23A (2) of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009, No. 5).
• Any person who carries out a project without signing first an ECP or paying an environmental monitoring fee. In this case, apart from the DOE revoking the ECP, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for six months or to both fine and imprisonment (Regulation 22A (3) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).
• Any person who carries out a project without signing first an ECP and receiving the environmental clearance from the DOE. In this case, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than $5,000 and not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for two years or to both fine and imprisonment (Regulation 22A (4) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).
• Any person who supplies false and misleading information on the details and information required by the DOE (Regulation 28 (1) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).
• Any person who contravenes the provisions of these Regulations. In this case, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than $5,000 and not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both such fine and imprisonment (Regulation 28 (2) of the SI No. 24 of 2007.

EIA evaluation

Are there any requirements to monitor if the impacts in reality are as they were predicted in the EIA, with the purpose of evaluating the EIA itself and improving future EIA practice?

Regulation 19 from the SI No. 107 of 1995, only mentions an establishment of a monitoring plan as one of the contents of an EIA report.
In addition, Regulation 30 (from amendment SI No. 24 of 2007) refers to the DOE, to be able from time to time, to make arrangements as appear appropriate to secure that the developer complies with the terms and conditions of the ECP, and in particular may require performance bonds or guarantees at an appropriate level in respect of that compliance.

Payment system

Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?

The granting of an Environmental Clearance by the DOE, depends upon, among others, the payment of an environmental monitoring fee and the posting of guarantees or performance bonds (Section 20 (7) of the Environmental Protection Act amended in 2009-No. 5 and amendment 22A (1) of the SI No. 24 of 2007).
Every developer should, before proceeding with the final design of an undertaking, notify and provide details to the DOE (Regulation 11 from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007). Therefore, the developer should submit a non refundable application fee of up to $1,000 for the notification and submission of a proposal for environmental clearance (Regulation 29 (1) from amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).
Furthermore, the developer from a Schedule 1 project should submit to the DOE a non-refundable application fee of $5,000, along with the notification and information required by Regulation 11 (Regulation 29 (2) from amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).
Finally, the developer from a Schedule II project (or where the DOE determines that a LLES is required), should submit to the DOE a non-refundable application fee of $2,500; and, in cases where the DOE determines that an EIA is necessary, the developer should submit an additional non-refundable application fee of $2,500 (Regulation 29 (3) from amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

The Belizean EIA system (Section 20 (5) of the Environmental Protection Act No. 22 of 1992 and Regulation 18 (1) from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), regulates the obligation of the developer, during the course of an EIA, to provide an opportunity for public consultations between the developer and interested members of the public, especially within or immediately adjacent to the geographical area of the proposed undertaking.
Also, the DOE may make its own EIA and synthesize the views of the public and interested bodies (Section 20 (6) of the Environmental Protection Act No. 22 of 1992) and according to Regulation 18 (2) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995), at any time during an EIA of a proposed undertaking, the DOE may invite written comments from interested persons concerning the environmental impact of an activity and forward the written comments to the developer who shall answer any pertinent questions raised (Regulation 18 (3) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
According to Regulation 20 (2) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), an EIA submitted by a developer, shall be accompanied by a copy of the published newspaper advertisement submitted to the DOE within one week of the submission of the EIA report.
Also, according to Regulation 24 (1) and (2) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), the DOE, on the recommendation of the NEAC, may require a public hearing in respect of any activity obligated to submit an EIA. In order to determine if this is necessary, the DOE shall take into account the following factors:

  • the magnitude and type of the environmental impact, the amount of investment, the nature of the geographical area, and the commitment of the natural resources involved in the proposed activity;
  • the degree of interest in the proposed activity by the public, the DOE and other government agencies, as evidenced by the public participation in the proposed activity;
  • the complexity of the problem and the possibility that information presented at a public hearing or public consultation may assist the developer to comply with its responsibilities regarding the proposed activity.

The EIA Manual for Developers of Belize (made by the Environmental Impact Assessment Project executed by the UICN and CCAD), proposes to ask for a citizen participation plan and a perception survey on the terms of reference of an EIA.

Public participation guidance

Has any guidance on participation been provided?

Guidelines were developed for citizen participation by the Environmental Impact Assessment Project executed by the UICN and CCAD.
There also is a Manual of Good Practices of Participation developed by the same Project.
The EIA Manual for Developers of Belize, developed by the same Project, mentions a citizen participation plan and a perception survey on the terms of reference of an EIA.

Access to information

Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?

The public consultations will be done in order to provide information, concerning the proposed undertaking, to the people whose environment may be affected; and to record the concerns of the local community regarding the environmental impact of the proposed activity (Regulation 18 (1) (a) and (b) from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).
According to Regulation 20 (1) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007), a person who has submitted an EIA, complying with the previously-agreed terms of reference; shall publish a notice, vetted and approved by the DOE, in at least two widely circulated newspapers for two consecutive weeks.  This notice shall contain or be:

  1. stating the name of the applicant;
  2. the location of the land or address in respect of which the environmental impact assessment relates;
  3. stating that the application has been made and indicating the location and nature of the proposal to which the application relates;
  4. stating that an EIA has been prepared in respect of the proposal;
  5. naming a place where a copy of the EIA may be inspected free of charge;
  6. specifying the times and the period (being the prescribed period) during which the EIA can be inspected;
  7. stating that any person may during the prescribed period make objections and representations to the DOE in relation to the effects of the proposed project activity on the environment;
  8. the date on which the EIA shall be available to the public;
  9. the deadline and address for filing comments on the conclusions and recommendations of the EIA.
Information dissemination

How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.

The public may receive the information that is publicly available by the following means:

  • Through a notice (vetted and approved by the DOE), in at least two widely circulated newspapers for two consecutive weeks. 
  • Through public consultations between the developer and interested members of the public.
  • Through the DOE’s invitation for written comments.
  • And, depending on certain factors, through a public hearing of an activity obligated to submit an EIA.
Timeline for public comments

The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.

Regulation 20 (1) (f), (g) and (h) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007) establishes the prescribed period (announced on two widely circulated newspapers) as the time during which the EIA is available to be inspected by the public and make objections and representations to the DOE in relation to the effects of the proposed project on the environment.

Costs for public

Are there any specified costs public parties will incur if they partake in EIA?(e.g. costs for the receiving report, costs of losing an appeal, etc. Costs associated with travel to meetings or such are not included here)

Regulation 20 (1) (e) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007) only mentions that a copy of the EIA may be inspected free of charge.


 

Public comments

What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?

The public may provide their comments by the following options :

  • Sending comments on the conclusions and recommendations of the EIA to an address established during the prescribed period (as mentioned on Regulation 20 (1) (g) and (i) (from the SI No. 107 of 1995 and its amendment SI No. 24 of 2007).
  • Public consultations between the developer and interested members of the public.
  • Sending, due to DOE’s invitation during an EIA of a proposed undertaking, written comments to DOE which will be in charge of forwarding the comments to the developer (Regulation 18 (3) from the SI No. 107 of 1995).
  • Public hearings.
Public comments in decision-making

Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?

There is no specification if the Environmental Clearance requires providing insight into the extent to which the public comments have had influence on the decision.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

According to Regulation 27 (from EIA Amendment Regulation, SI No. 24 of 2007), when the DOE has decided that a project shall not proceed, a developer may, within twenty-one days after the DOE’s decision, appeal in writing to the Minister, against the decision of the DOE.
Then, upon an appeal, the Minister shall cause to be appointed a Tribunal to hear and determine all appeals (Regulation 27A (1) from EIA Amendment Regulation, SI No. 24 of 2007).

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

A developer may, within twenty-one days, after the DOE’s decision of a project not been able to proceed, appeal in writing to the Minister (Regulation 27 from EIA Amendment Regulation, SI No. 24 of 2007).
Also, Regulation 27B (5) (from EIA Amendment Regulation, SI No. 24 of 2007) states that the Tribunal has the power to vary, amend, alter or reverse a decision made by the DOE as long as it is in the interest of the sustainable use of Belize’s natural resources.

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

A developer can appeal when the DOE has decided that his project shall not proceed.

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.

Tekstverwerker, ftbInformation_uk, Druk ALT 0 voor hulp

Number of projects evaluated:
2009-2010   61
2008-2009  34
2007-2008  47
2006-2007  33

Number of projects granted environmental clearance:
2009-2010  45
2008-2009  33
2007-2008  35
2006-2007  29

Since 2009-2010 the DOE started to systematize data concerning projects evaluated (61), numbers of EIAs (11), number of LLES (5) and approved (45).

 

Central EIA database

Is there a central database or library where information on EIAs is kept (i.e. where all EIAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?

The DOE’s Website (http://www.doe.gov.bz/) contains the list of the projects being processed and their status, along with other information.

Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

There is no operational accreditation system in Belize that certifies consultants to do EIAs.
The Regulation 2 (SI No. 24 of 2007) only mentions and defines a suitably qualified person, as the one who has an academic training, technical expertise obtained in the field as a result of formal and informal education and training in the field of Natural Sciences, with a background in Natural Resources Management, Environmental Studies, EIAs, or similar related fields deemed to be relevant for the preparation of an EIA report. 

Capacity development

Ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events) are mentioned here.

Through the Technical Committee on Environmental Impact Assessment of Central America and various international institutions and/or based on bilateral cooperation, training was developed.

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

Environmental Protection Act (No. 22 of 1992):
http://bit.ly/1Vp1Mr6

Environmental Protection (Amendment) Act, 2009:
http://bit.ly/1KiIrBO

The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations:
http://bit.ly/1IhKKHA

Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) Regulations, 2007
http://bit.ly/1gLYe2b

Environmental checklist:
http://bit.ly/1KhYD94

Consultation system for EIA projects:
http://bit.ly/1OukeK4

Consultation system for Environmental Compliance Plans:
http://bit.ly/1Jeg6xQGuideline of requirements for EIA (brochures):
http://bit.ly/1OukaKx

Guideline or procedures for the preparation of an EIA:
http://bit.ly/1MFrrFX

Other relevant links on EIA

Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.

The Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitations) Regulations:
http://bit.ly/1LA391A
Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitations) (Amendment) Regulations, 2009:

http://bit.ly/1IgmsMi