Management of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultancy services to be centralised under NParks to strengthen conservation of Singapore’s natural heritage
27 Aug 2022
- Centralised management will enhance EIA standards across industry
Minister for National Development & Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Mr Desmond Lee announced today that the management of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultancy services will be centralised under the National Parks Board (NParks). This approach will be piloted for new HDB and JTC development projects requiring EIAs starting from early 2023.
This move will further strengthen the EIA framework by enhancing standards across the industry and consolidating information on Singapore’s biodiversity. This is part of Singapore’s commitment to land stewardship and sustainable development, as we transform into a City in Nature.
Mr Lee also participated in a BioBlitz survey of the Clementi Forest Stream organised by NParks. This citizen science survey will contribute to the EIA that will inform the enhancement plans for Clementi Nature Trail. The enhancement plans for this stretch of the Clementi Nature Corridor will allow the public to enjoy and experience nature along its trails safely, while minimising impact on the biodiversity and ecology of the forest.
Management of EIA consultancy services to be centralised under NParks to strengthen conservation of natural heritage
Under Singapore’s current EIA framework, proposed development projects that are close to sensitive nature areas, marine or coastal areas, or have potential transboundary impact undergo an in-depth consultation process. Through this process, technical agencies ascertain if an EIA is required depending on the context of the site, the scope of the project works, and its potential impact on the environment. An EIA typically consists of a baseline survey, assessment of environmental impact, and the formulation of mitigating measures and an Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP). The developer is required to (i) consult the relevant technical agencies on the scope of the EIA; (ii) engage an EIA consultant to carry out these studies; and (iii) share the EIA report with the relevant agencies and the public.
Going forward, instead of individual developing agencies calling standalone EIA tenders for their projects, NParks will engage EIA consultants via a centralised demand aggregate tender. NParks will also help to manage EIA consultants directly, on behalf of the developing agencies. This will enable NParks to work more closely with the consultants to standardise survey methodologies and develop industry best practice guidelines. These efforts will contribute to raising industry standards and the quality and rigour of EIA work in Singapore.
NParks will also consolidate information obtained from various EIAs in a centralised biodiversity database to facilitate long-term monitoring and research, such as in modelling island-wide connectivity and ecological profiling.
This move will also reduce the time needed for developing agencies to call for tenders, and consultants preparing bids for each project. This will translate to potential time and cost savings by minimising duplicative work.
Minister Desmond Lee said, “In 2021, we started to study if it would be better to centralise the management of EIA consultants, instead of having individual developing agencies manage on their own. Having looked at this, our assessment is that centralising the management of EIA consultancy services under NParks has many benefits, and will raise standards across the industry. For a start, we will pilot this for new HDB and JTC development projects requiring EIAs from early 2023, before deciding whether to scale this to all Government projects. We remain committed to safeguarding our natural heritage and transforming Singapore into a City in Nature.”
NParks partners community through a BioBlitz survey as part of next phase of enhancements for Clementi Nature Corridor
In 2021, NParks announced that the new recreational green network at Clementi Nature Corridor will include the Clementi Nature Trail that links the Clementi Forest Stream to the new nature park in Ulu Pandan West. Since then, enhancement works have commenced for parts of Clementi Nature Trail, such as the southern stretch of Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal. NParks is now embarking on the next phase of works, which includes stretches along sensitive nature areas, such as the Clementi Forest Stream. NParks has called for an EIA to inform the development plans and ensure that works are carried out sensitively to minimise impact to the environment.
To supplement the biodiversity baseline survey in the EIA, NParks has organised a BioBlitz from 27 to 28 August 2022 to survey the flora and fauna along Clementi Forest Stream. The data collected will help to guide habitat enhancement efforts for the area, such as the choice of plant species along the stream banks to support aquatic biodiversity. This is also part of NParks’ Community in Nature (CIN) initiative to involve citizen scientists in collecting information on our biodiversity, so as to transform Singapore into a City in Nature with the support of the community.
Minister Lee joined the student volunteers leading the BioBlitz and members of the Friends of Clementi-Ulu Pandan Nature Corridor (FoCUPNC) who carried out the surveys at the BioBlitz this morning.
Since their formation in September 2021, the FoCUPNC has developed proposals to enhance the green spaces along Clementi Nature Corridor, and also contributed to habitat enhancement at a tree-planting event. The proposals for Clementi Nature Corridor include reaching out to the wider community by conducting nature and heritage tours, and creating a habitat for butterflies along Clementi Nature Trail. NParks will continue partnering the community as we collectively embark on the next phase of enhancements for the Clementi Nature Corridor.
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