What is a NEM: AQA Section 30 Atmospheric Impact Report?

An Atmospheric Impact Report is undertaken to assess the impacts of an existing or proposed facility on the environment based on the air emissions associated with the facility’s operation. An Atmospheric Impact Report is undertaken at the request of an air quality officer in South Africa and must be compiled in accordance with Section 30 of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (NEM: AQA).

When is an Atmospheric Impact Report Required?

An Atmospheric Impact Report may be required by an air quality officer in the following instances:

  • Where a facility owner / operator fails to comply with the requirements of the National Air Quality Act and / or conditions of their Atmospheric Emission License (AEL), resulting in detrimental effects on the environment (including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage), or degrading of ambient air quality;
  • During review of an Atmospheric Emission License or provisional Atmospheric Emission License; or,
  • For all new Atmospheric Emission License applications that do not require an Environmental Authorisation (EA)1 in terms of the National Environmental Management Act.

What are the Objectives of an Atmospheric Impact Report?

The key objective of an Atmospheric Emission Report is to retrospectively determine whether a facility has had the potential to cause an impact to human health, the environment or ambient air quality through its unlicenced or illegally operated activities. This is achieved through an air dispersion modelling study and the results of this study must be assessed against the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Information required within the Atmospheric Impact Report2 includes the facility’s site details, process description, technical information (such as raw materials used), details of atmospheric emissions, an analysis of the impact of facility emissions on the receiving environment and air quality management procedures.

It is important to note that an Atmospheric Impact Report, compiled in accordance with the regulations, must be undertaken by a person who is registered as a professional engineer or as a professional natural scientist in the appropriate Section 21 category.

Should you require assistance with undertaking an Atmospheric Impact Report, please do not hesitate to contact one of WKC’s air quality consultants at airquality@wkcgroup.com.

1Activities that are listed either in Listing Notice 1 or in Listing Notice 2 of the NEMA require EA prior to facility commencement. Based on the activity classification, the request for authorisation must either be subjected to a Basic Assessment (BA) for smaller scale activities or the more thorough scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for large scale or highly polluting activities.
2The AIR must be presented in accordance with the “Regulations Prescribing the Format of the AIR” (Notice No. 747, Government Gazette No. 36904).