NEPA Increases Enforcement Actions By 41 Per Cent

Story Highlights

  • NEPA is reporting a 41 per cent increase in the number of enforcement actions taken against companies and individuals.
  • The number moves from 633 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2012/13 to 893 for the period 2013/14.
  • These included Cessation Orders; Enforcement Notices; Stop Notices; and Notice of Intention to Suspend.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is reporting a 41 per cent increase in the number of enforcement actions taken against companies and individuals in breach of the various environmental and planning laws.

The number moves from 633 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2012/13 to 893 for the period 2013/14, which included Cessation Orders; Enforcement Notices; Stop Notices; and Notice of Intention to Suspend.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ian Hayles, during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 17.

Mr. Hayles said the Ministry’s agencies have continued to increase their enforcement efforts to achieve compliance with environment and planning laws.

He further informed that the number of matters brought before the courts for environmental and planning breaches also increased, with the number of summons served up from 13 in 2012/13 to 49 in the last financial year.

“Over the past year, the scaled-up enforcement activities have resulted in a number of convictions and settlements,” he stated.

Mr. Hayles said NEPA has begun to use court injunctions to enforce compliance with the Town and Country Planning Act and the Beach Control Act.

“This initiative has been very successful. The intention is that injunctions against offenders will become a regular part of the enforcement procedure,” he remarked.

In the meantime, the State Minister informed that the Forestry Department also achieved considerable success through its targeted enforcement initiatives, during the last financial year.

He said several matters have been brought by the Department before the island’s Resident Magistrates Courts, and increasingly higher fines are being imposed by the judiciary for offences breaching the Forest Act of 1996 and the Forest Regulations 2001.

Through its enforcement efforts, the Forestry Department, in 14 separate incidents, seized timber and non-timber forest products that were not legally acquired from the forest reserves and forest estates under management.

There was also a reduction in the number of offences detected in the areas managed by the Department over period.

Mr. Hayles said this was due mainly to increased monitoring by the Department’s enforcement personnel, as well as community meetings to increase public awareness about the fines and penalties, as well as activities that constitute offences.

“I take this opportunity, to make an appeal to all Jamaicans: please stop raiding our forests. We must preserve what we have now, and if you breach the regulations and chop down our forests, we are coming after you with the full force of the law,” he warned.

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