On 21 July 2017 the Minister of Environmental Affairs published a notice in terms of s29(1) of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act declaring certain greenhouse gases as priority air pollutants and the National Pollution Prevention Plans Regulations.

Persons affected by the Notice and Regulations

The notice applies to any person (which includes a juristic person) undertaking any of the production processes set out below which involves the emission of greenhouse gases in excess of 0.1Megatonnes annually reported as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq).

  • Coal mining;

  • The production and / or refining of crude oil;

  • The production and / or processing of natural gas;

  • Production of liquid fuels from coal or gas;

  • Cement production;

  • Glass production;

  • Ammonia production;

  • Nitric acid production;

  • Carbon black production;

  • Iron and steel production;

  • Ferro-alloys production;

  • Aluminium production (excluding foundries);

  • Polymers production;

  • Pulp and paper production;

  • Electricity production (combustion of fossil fuels, excluding the use of back-up generators).

The obligations on affected person

Persons undertaking the production processes set out above must submit a pollution prevention plan to the Minister for approval by no later than 21 December 2017. The pollution prevention plan must include:

  • Details of the person submitting the plan;

  • A description of the production processes being undertaken;

  • Details of the greenhouse gases generated from the production processes in accordance with the reporting requirements contained in the National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations the GHG Regulations

  • Total greenhouse gas emissions from the production process for the calendar year preceding the submission of the pollution prevention plan;

  • The methodology adopted to monitor annual greenhouse gas emissions and the evaluation criteria to assess reductions in greenhouse gases in accordance with the GHG Regulations;

  • A description of the mitigation measures that will be implemented and result in a deviation from the greenhouse gas emissions baseline over the pollution prevention plan’s period and the projected emissions reductions that will be achieved.

The pollution prevention plan must cover the period from 21 July 2017 to 31 December 2020 and thereafter, the pollution prevention plans must run for 5 year intervals.

Annual Reporting and Verification

The person undertaking the production processes must monitor and evaluate the implementation of the approved pollution prevention plan and submit a progress report to the Minister by 31 March of each year. The annual report must include details of the mitigation measures that have been implemented, details of deviations from the approved pollution prevention plans and any remediation action to address these deviations and the management of any risks and limitations.

If the Minister reasonably believes that any information contained in the pollution prevention plan or the annual report is incomplete or false, the person submitting the information may be called upon to verify the information.

Offences and Penalties

Failing to submit a pollution prevention plan or annual report or supplying false or misleading information is an offence and (if convicted) the person may be liable in the case of a first conviction to a fine not exceeding R5 million and / or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and in the case of a subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding R10 million and / or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.