046-i. Advisory review: EIA for highway and sand mining - Sri Lanka

The NCEA issued an advisory review of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for construction of a highway and associated sand mining activities. It concluded that the project takes sufficient measures to ensure environmentally sound construction, but that implementation of the proposed mitigation measures should receive more attention.

Advisory reports and other documents

23 Jul 2001: Advisory review
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice

Significant details

The Road Development Authority of Sri Lanka planned to establish a highway between the city of Colombo and Katunayake. As required according to national law, an EIA was undertaken in which several traces for the highway were studied and a final trace selected. This study was approved by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). It did however not cover exploration and mining of offshore sand, needed for the construction of the highway. An additional EIA was therefore undertaken for this part of the project.

For the sand mining component of the project, a Netherlands firm applied for ORET funding. Such involvement of the Netherlands however was complicated since the Netherlands Embassy in Sri Lanka was also supporting biodiversity protection and natural resources management in two wetland areas that would be crossed by the proposed highways (Muthurajawela marshlands and Negombo lagoon). The Embassy therefore invited the NCEA to review the EIA reports with the following specific questions in mind:

  • Have potential negative impacts on Muthurajawela and Negombo wetlands been described sufficiently and correctly in the EIA reports and related studies?
  • Are mitigating measures addressed sufficiently?

In its advisory review, the NCEA observes among others the following:

  • Sufficient measures have been taken to ensure an environmentally sound construction of the road and related sand mining/stockpiling;
  • Mitigation measures included in the designs are according to the conditions made by the CEA and sometimes even not entirely necessary from an environmental point of view;
  • However, due attention has to be paid to implementation of other required mitigation measures. The NCEA could not evaluate whether the provisional sum reserved in the Environmental and Social Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (ESMMP) is sufficient for this, since it had no access to this ESMMP;
  • Some additional measures could be taken and incorporated in the ESMMP.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Piet Wit

Chair: Jan-Willem Kroon
Technical secretary: Ineke Steinhauer

Proponent and Component Authority

Road Development Authority

Component Authority
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Central Environmental Authority (CEA)

Further details

Country: Sri Lanka

Last modified: 28 May 2019