22 December 2016
Integration of the environmental laws and building by-laws; A step towards fast approval process
Taking a cue from the international scenario, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has come up with a notification that permits integration of environmental norms with the local building by-laws. Currently, the construction projects above built-up area 20,000 sq m had to get clearance from the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority. The new rules allow integration of environmental condition in building by-laws and accordingly local authorities can give environmental clearance with building permissions.
- Projects with built-up area of 5,000 sq m to less than 20,000 sq m are required to submit an online application with self-declaration Form 1A certified by a Qualified Building Environment Auditor (QBEA).
- Projects above 20,000 sq m built-up area have an obligation to submit online application in Form 1A for environmental appraisal. The Committee will appraise the project and stipulate the environmental conditions in the building permission.
The notification has also spelt out various environment conditions for water conservation, rainwater harvesting, waste management, green cover protection, etc. for various project sizes.
In our opinion, integration of the environmental laws with building by-laws is a right step towards creating environmental awareness in the country and streamlining the approval process. This will further help to reduce the overall project approval time that sometimes takes several months’ and even years in some cases. However, as the states are required to make proposed changes in their by-laws and get it approved from the MoEF and Centre, the implementation can be tedious and time-consuming. Besides this, the state governments who do not notify the by-laws can follow the current procedure of granting environmental clearance to the projects.