The first step to develop a new industrial project is to secure a project site. However, land searching is more than just identifying a piece of land and negotiating for the best price. It is also important to conduct necessary due diligence and preliminary site assessment submission to the state Department of Environment (DOE), because it could be a nightmare if your intended industry is not compatible or suitable with the land purchased. The land could be left undeveloped due to the failure in getting approval for development from the DOE.
Therefore, investing a small upfront amount for engaging a professional consultant in advising the site suitability at the early stage of land purchasing is worthwhile to avoid a huge loss of money and time in the later stage.
Before going into the details, let’s know more about preliminary site assessment, or more commonly known as Penilaian Awal Tapak (PAT) in Malaysia.
PAT is a process conducted by DOE to ensure the proposed site for a new industrial project is being assessed and screened. Should the DOE find it necessary to further investigate, the department may conduct an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). It is worth noting that the report is one of the mandatory documents required by local authorities when developers submit for the Development Order (DO) approval.
In case of the state’s DOE found that the proposed site is not suitable for industrial development, it will not support the proposed development. Vice-versa, if the proposed site ticked all the boxes of criteria for site suitability acceptability, the department will issue a document to support the industrial project. Here are some of the criteria:
- The land shall not be in conflict with the proposed usage as gazetted in the local government’s development plan. It is preferable to be located within the designated and approved industrial estates.
- It is advised to avoid areas in which an operation could potentially impact the environmentally sensitive areas located downstream or the adjacent lands.
- The proposed site shall generally comply with the desired buffer zone or setback requirements, which shall be sufficient to mitigate those environmental concerns.
- The land shall have good road infrastructure, which allows easy access to the site without passing through sensitive receptors such as residential areas and hospitals.
- It should be served with sufficient and proper utility supplies and appropriate waste management facilities, as well as proper drainage for rainwater conveyance.
- The impact of the additional pollutant capacity shall not be exceeding the national ambient air and water goals.
- The development has to adopt the process technology, pollution control prevention, and control measures proposed.
It is highly advisable to engage a professional consultant in assisting to submit for the PAT as the process is tedious. The application shall be completed with PAT form, site and location plan, project layout plan, land use analysis map, project description, relevant information about pollution prevention and control, as well as modeling studies for those industries identified as highly hazardous.
[Image source: Photo by Rodolfo Gaion]
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