Belize Environmental Approval Process

(Compressed version of the Department of Environment (DOE) Statutory provisions for Development.  For more information see http://www.doe.bz or email envirodept@btl.net

Step 1.  When is Environmental Clearance needed?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) needs to be completed for any project that falls into the following categories:

  • Housing developments of more than 50 houses on the Cayes or islands.  DOE interpret this as 50 lots not 50 family homes ·
  • Any land reclamation or creation projects in excess of ten acres along the coast or within a wetland.
  • Clearing of more than 10 acres of mangroves in ecologically sensitive areas

In addition and depending on the location and size of the project, An Environmental Impact Assessment or Limited Level Environmental Study also needs to be carried out for the following:

  • Construction of hotels, golf courses or large scale coastal resort facilities
  • Development of tourist or recreational facilities in or adjacent to national parks or protected areas
  • Development of tourist or recreational facilities on cayes or islands

In addition,

  • All application for development in coastal areas or offshore cayes or islands needs to be sent to the DOE for Environmental clearance.
  • All application for development near or in ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves, needs to be sent to the DOE for Environmental clearance.

Step 2 : Who approves the Studies?

Once an EIA or limited level ES has been completed, National Environmental Assessment Committee (NEAC) reviews the documents.  NEAC consists of 11 members from the major government departments and 2 NGO representatives.

Once the EIA is approved, an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) is drawn up by NEAC, then signed by the Developer and the DOE. The Developer now has Environmental clearance from the Department of the Environment.

Step 3.After approval

Developer must pay any Bonds or monitoring fees specified in the ECP.

Step 4: Next steps

Developer must apply for any other permits required from other departments:

Including, but not limited to:

  • Department of Forestry for mangrove clearance,
  • Department of Geology for dredging permits,
  • Local planning committees for Building permits

At all these stages the public has the right to contact the relevant departments to raise their objections and concerns.

If the developer does not adhere to this process or breaks any of the regulations a Stop order can be issued against them by the DOE to halt work until the DOE are happy that their concerns are addressed.

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