Potential investors/developers in the Zone must apply to the Investor Services Division for an Operational Permit. In order for this permit to be granted, ASEZAmust be satisfied as to a number of different issues relating to public health, public safety and the environmental impact of the scheme.
The process of assessment of the environmental impacts of the scheme is termed Environmental Clearance, and this assessment is made by the Environmental Planning Directorate (EPD).
In applying for an Operational Permit, the developer must submit an Investment Facilitation Form to the Investor Services Division, which will request details about the intended activities.
Unless the activity falls into an EPD “Exclusion List”, Section 3 of the Investment Facilitation Form must be completed. This serves as a provisional application for Environmental Clearance.
Once completed, the Investment Facilitation Form is passed to the Environmental Planning Directorate allowing it to assess the potential impacts on the natural resources and the environment within the Zone. If the activity appears on the EPD”Exclusion List”, it will receive an immediate Environment Clearance. The “Exclusion List” includes such activities as office facilities, restaurants, and educational centers.
The Authority attaches great importance to matters concerning the Environment of the ASEZ and expects investors, developers and project owners in the Zone to attach the same degree of importance to such matters by complying with all environmental requirements in the Zone. Failure to comply with the requirements shall render the owners of such activities subject to penalties and fines according to the ASEZA Law No. (32) of the 2000 and the Environmental Protection Regulation No. 21 of the year 2001.
All economic activities which are given Environmental Clearance by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority’s ASEZA Environmental Planning Directorate, shall comply with all the Environmental Requirements and stipulated standards in the Zone with respect to water quality, water conservation, air quality, noise, coastal and marine environment, biodiversity solid waste management, and hazardous material and waste management.
All economic activities within the Zone are therefore subject to environmental inspection, to ensure that they comply with the Environmental Rules, Regulations and Requirements.
An inspection program is implemented throughout the Zone by the Environmental Planning Directorate. This inspection program is prioritized to concentrate on those facilities or activities which pose major threats to the environment.
The inspection plan covers five main categories; hotels and tourism resorts, industrial facilities, hospitals and medical facilities, storage facilities, port facilities, and also covers other services such as wastewater treatment plants and others that have a significant effect on the ASEZ environment. The inspections focus on pollutant effluents, emissions, or wastes resulting from any activity or service in the area. The inspection also includes any activity within the facilities that has the potential to cause adverse effects on the environment.
In addition to the regular environmental inspection program, ASEZA has the authority to initiate an environmental audit of any public and private enterprise in theASEZ.
This audit is commissioned by the Environmental Planning Directorate, and carried out by a third party. The purpose the audit is to ensure that the establishment is complying with the environmental rules and regulations, and to ascertain that the best available technologies and practices for the control and prevention of environmental pollution are being utilized.
An environmental audit may be initiated in the following cases :
- Where complaints are received from residents or workers in a particular facility about any harm or pollution resulting from the operations conducted therein.
- In case of an accident related to the facility’s operations, regardless of whether this occurred within or outside the facility, where such accident resulted or may have resulted in environmental harm.
- If the environmental inspection, or monitoring results show that the project’s activities are causing the release of pollutants into air, soil or water in excess of permitted levels according to adopted standards in ASEZ, or in amounts that may cause direct harm to the Environment.
- Where periodic inspection shows the necessity of conducting an environmental audit.
- Where an audit is required to monitor the facility’s compliance with any mitigation or management plans that have been established by the operator in accordance with a previous Environmental Impact Assessment.