The ElA process starts when a project is first being designed. If environmental risks are to be expected, it is in the interest of the developer to identify alternative plans to reduce the environmental risk or develop measures to mitigate the negative impact. The Government and the developer share responsibility for assessing potential environmental risks and for taking actions to reduce those risks. NEA, in collaboration with government departments and private sector representatives, is charged with reviewing all new projects and determining whether or not they are "environmentally sound", prior to granting environmental clearance.
All project proponents and developers are required to complete the Screening Form. On this form, the developer will provide basic information, which allows a determination of the likely negative environmental impacts to be expected.
The proposed project may fall into one of three categories: no or minimal anticipated environmental impacts; sizeable or significant anticipated environmental impacts; or the information provided is insufficient to accurately assess the project. Some types of projects automatically require a full assessment because, based on experience and the nature of the project, the risk of negative impact is great.
In other cases, based on experience and the information provided on the Screening Form, it may be clear that negative environmental impacts will be insignificant. In these cases, a project will be granted environmental clearance without further study requirements.
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