Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry can provide an update of its review of the framework guiding when and how environmental impact assessments should be done ahead of development works.
Mr Desmond Lee: We adopt a systematic framework to determine and mitigate the potential impact of new developments on the environment. Environmental studies, like Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), may be imposed as part of the planning process, to inform our understanding of the development’s potential impact and the adequacy of the proposed mitigation measures.
As Singapore’s physical and operating environments change over the years, we have continually reviewed the EIA framework to ensure that it remains relevant and robust. In 2020, in consultation with the nature community, we rolled out a series of enhancements to increase the rigour of environmental studies conducted, strengthen enforcement of environmental measures imposed, and improve transparency of environmental study findings.
Agencies are studying ways to further strengthen the framework, such as exploring the use of technology to improve project management and monitoring, and reviewing the centralisation of EIA consultants. NParks is also carrying out an island-wide Ecological Profiling Exercise (EPE), in partnership with members of the nature community, to build a more comprehensive picture of Singapore’s ecosystem and ecological connectivity. The first iteration of the EPE, which studied the ecological profile of green spaces and modelled terrestrial, coastal and marine connectivity across Singapore in consultation with a Scientific Advisory Panel, was completed recently and the findings will be shared later this year.
We recognise that our planning strategies must adapt and be nimble to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of Singaporeans. We will continue to review the EIA framework to strike an effective balance that can support a diversity of values and aspirations across the generations, and will provide updates on further enhancements when ready.
Ministry of National Development
5 April 2022