Zitholele Consulting, responsible for the independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Transnet’s approximately 525km-long Durban to Heidelberg New Multi-Products Pipeline (NMPP), have assured affected farmers along the pipeline’s proposed route that their concerns about the NMPP’s route and construction will be duly considered and, where possible, factored into the design and construction plans of the project.
South African state-owned enterprise, Transnet, received a license from the National Energy Regulator of SA to construct a pipeline that will efficiently transport diesel, petrol and jet aviation fuel from the KwaZulu-Natal coast to Gauteng. The existing Durban-Johannesburg pipeline, operating at full capacity, is only able to transport 28% of fuel annually needed inland with the demand rapidly increasing. The management of construction impacts is a major concern for landowners. Zitholele Consulting said, however, that both group, as well as one-on-one, meetings are being held with affected landowners to determine if they have any concerns or requirements for the new pipeline’s construction on their land.
“We want to assure farmers that Transnet is committed to international best practice for environmental and construction management of the project,” said EIA lead consultant for the NMPP project, Mark Wood. This will involve much stricter control over the construction contractor than has been the case in the past. Wood explained that while Transnet has the right to expropriate land for the construction of the NMPP, this would be used as an absolute last resort if negotiations with a particular landowner were not amicably resolved.
Landowners will be fairly compensated and since the pipeline will be between 1m and 1,5m underground, passing under rivers is necessary and farmers will be able to continue their farming operations over the pipeline once it has been constructed and covered. he assessment of the route by EIA specialists should be concluded by around the end of May this year. It is likely that a decision by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of whether to authorise the project or not, in terms of the Environmental National Management Act, will be taken around the end of 2008. – Lloyd Phillips Contact Zitholele Consulting on (011) 254 4911.