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Emirates News Agency – EAD conducts 1,900 Environmental Assessments in 2021

Emirates News Agency – EAD conducts 1,900 Environmental Assessments in 2021

ABU DHABI, 20th April, 2022 (WAM) — The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has had an extremely successful year in 2021 in environmental assessment and permitting operations.

The purpose of the assessments is to identify the potential environmental impacts of project and facility activities during the early design stages, to ensure implementation of best available practices and compliance with Abu Dhabi’s environmental laws and regulations.

The results of the 2021 environmental assessments revealed that 60 km2 of marine critical habitats were preserved and 850,000 m2 of terrestrial critical habitats were conserved. This was in addition to a reduction in toxic waste from drilling operations of more than 2,800 cu m and a 99 percent reduction of air pollutants emissions from fluorine industries. EAD has also permitted the commissioning of clean-energy projects that will save approximately 11 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to the emissions from 2.4 million cars if the energy was generated from fossil fuels.

Faisal Al Hammadi, EAD’s Acting Executive Director of the Environment Quality Sector, said, “2021 was a very successful year for EAD regarding environmental assessment and permitting. We want to ensure that all new facilities in Abu Dhabi comply with environmental laws. We aim to do this from the very beginning of every project.

Al Hammadi said, “Figures show that there is an increasing number of developers and industries adopting best environmentally practices, which means we are on track to ensure Abu Dhabi is a healthy place for all.” While we are aware that there are many sectors that can be detrimental to our environment, we can still reduce the risks by having a proper permitting process and a rigorous assessment process.

Other key achievements of EAD include the completion a Strategic Environmental Assessment Program (SEA). This involved the creation of a proposed implementation program that aims to integrate environmental considerations into the designs of strategic projects, masterplans, and development programs.

EAD also created permit conditions to allow new sectors by studying the adverse impact of slaughterhouses on health and medical facilities. The Agency developed environmental permit conditions that were linked with the legal provisions in the environmental laws, regulations and enforcement in the Emirate.

EAD also created an Iron and Steel Sector Self Reporting Programme. This programme identified the main pollutants of concern in the iron and steel sectors, monitored and reported requirements, and performed a cost analysis to implement those requirements.

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EAD was able improve its ability to standardise permits and to facilitate the permitting process by updating its electronic systems. This update was completed in 2021. It included reviewing all industrial, business, and development activities in Abu Dhabi. New criteria were established based on environmental risk and the incorporation of the updated programme into the design and construction of new digital services.

EAD also restructured environmental permits in accordance with TAMM requirements as part of its digital transformation. The Agency completely restructured its process flow charts for all permits operations and adopted a new approach that is more than 65 percent automated. A new update enabled data migration to the new digital services platform. Proponents will find it easier to comply with environmental regulations when more than 2000 permit conditions have been reviewed, updated, and simplified.

EAD has launched a new training program to ensure that environmental permitting is managed by the best team. This includes outreach and information for new recruits.

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