Moratorium on timber transport lifted

08 February 2019 | Environment

The agriculture ministry has lifted the moratorium on the transportation of timber that was cut before 26 November last year.

The executive director in the agriculture ministry, Percy Misika, says the issuing of forestry permits for all purposes was suspended on 26 November 2018.

Since then, all timber harvesting, transportation and export permits were cancelled and no new ones were issued.

The ministry has now lifted its moratorium on the transportation of timber.

Misika says this means that timber that was cut before 26 November may now be transported the country or exported.

“However, the moratorium on timber harvesting remains in place and no harvesting permits will be issued until further notice,” said Misika.

The agriculture ministry said towards the end of last year that about 500 timber harvesters in north-eastern Namibia must apply for environmental clearance certificates.

This requires an environmental impact assessment which is not only expensive, but can take months to complete.

Timber harvesting is one of the listed activities in the Environmental Management Act of 2007.

Loggers must obtain a timber harvesting permit to harvest timber for whatever purpose.

The applicants must ensure that other legal instruments and their requirements are taken into account. A person applying for a permit must be a Namibian who privately owns land or is a long-time lessee of land.

A forest inventory assessment is then conducted to establish the allowable quantity that can be harvested on the land, after which the applicant must conduct an environmental impact assessment. Since the suspension of permits applicants have to first provide proof to the agriculture ministry that an environmental impact assessment was conducted and only when the environmental clearance is received will a permit be issued.

Misika reminded interested parties that timber transport and export permits are issued in accordance with the existing procedures under the Forest Act of 2001.

ELLANIE SMIT

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