NEPA to monitor Negril closer
THE NATIONAL Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is paying closer attention to monitoring and enforcement activities in Negril, Westmoreland.
Under a new J$7 million operational project funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the agency will increase its effort to mitigate the continued spread of disorderly planning and environmental stresses that have come to characterise the resort town.
Peter Knight, chief executive officer at NEPA, said the agency welcomes the injection of funding from TEF to address the planning and environmental problems in the resort town.
The funds, he noted, will allow the agency to deploy three additional enforcement officers who will: monitor facilities with environmental permits and licences issued by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, and enforce regulations under the Wild Life Protection Act.
"The enforcement officers will also enforce the Negril Marine Park Regulations, investigate planning breaches, monitor compliance with planning approvals, and monitor environmental incidents which may occur within the Negril Environmental Protection Area," he said.
The revitalised approach under the TEF project will commence in November 2013 and continue for 12 months.
Clyde Harrison, executive director at TEF, said the Fund is happy to partner with NEPA to address the growing concerns in Negril.
"TEF welcomes the opportunity to work with NEPA to regulate the sensitive and vulnerable aspects of our environment which we have relied on to develop and operate a tourism industry. Without firm and vigilant protection of our marine and land-based resources, our tourism industry will not be sustainable. TEF is happy to demonstrate our support of NEPA's efforts in this way," Harrison said.
It is expected that under the project, the mushrooming unplanned developments will be stymied, further encroachment on to the Great Morass stopped, breaches against the planning, environmental and beach control acts enforced, and illegal developments reduced.
Richard Nelson, manager of the Enforcement Branch at NEPA, said the funding was timely as over the years, the monitoring and enforcement of environmental and planning laws in Negril have been a challenge due to human-resource constraints. He noted that the agency shares monitoring and enforcement responsibility with the Negril Green Island Local Area Planning Authority.