Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What does NEPA mean?
NEPA means the National Environment and Planning Agency. The
Agency’s primary role is to manage and protect the country’s land, wood and
water and it is located at 10 and 11 Caledonia Avenue Kingston 5.
What does NEPA do?
NEPA monitors the natural resource assets and the environment of
Jamaica. The Agency processes and approves applications for environmental
permits and licences, planning and development (such as sub-divisions,
change of use and retention of use), change of agricultural land use, beach
use, construction and operation of prescribed industrial facilities, sewage
discharge and industrial waste discharge. The Agency is also responsible for
the management and protection of the country’s biodiversity (microorganisms,
plants, animals and their habitats). NEPA also processes and approves
permits for the export and transit of hazardous wastes.
Another function of NEPA is to prepare town and parish
development plans, development orders, national environment planning and
development strategies and action plans. NEPA enforces planning approvals in
areas covered by development orders. The Agency actively develops
environment and land use database systems. NEPA engages extensively in
continuous public education programmes.
Is NEPA part of a Ministry of government?
NEPA is an Agency of the Ministry of Health & Environment
What is a protected species?
A protected animal is any animal
that is listed in the Third Schedule of the Wildlife Protection Act and all
birds not listed in the Second Schedule.
What is an endangered species?
An endangered species is an organism (plant or animal) whose
population size has been reduced to less than 70% over the last ten years or
three generations and is therefore facing a very high risk of extinction in
the wild. Examples include the Green Turtle, the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
and Ormosia Jamaiensis.
What are some of the protected species in
The law also protects the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, the Indian Coney,
Jamaican Iguana, Jamaican Boa, black and white corals, Loggerhead Turtles,
Leatherback Turtles, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle, the American
Crocodile and the Manatee. Other protected animals the Bottlenose Dolphin,
the Sperm Whale, the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, the Baird’s Beaked Whale,
the Humpback Whale, the Reid Seahorse and the Jamaican Kite Swallowtail.
These include all birds, except game birds (which can
be shot only when the shooting season is declared) and those listed in the
Second Schedule of the Wild Life Protection Act. Examples of such birds are
the Cattle Egret, the Barble Dove and the Budgerigars.
Are there penalties for disobeying the laws for
Yes, the Wild Life Protection Act has penalties
regarding the protected species. Anyone in breach of the law can be taken
before the court and may be fined a maximum of $100,000 and or imprisoned
for up to two years.
Is there another name for manatees?
Manatees are also called Sea Cows
What does the term “endemic” mean?
Endemic means that the species (plant or animal) is native to
Jamaica or is found only here
What is a protected area?
A protected area is an area of land or water that is managed for the
protection and maintenance of its ecology, biodiversity or specific natural,
cultural or aesthetic resources.
Where are the protected areas in Jamaica?
These are the Montego Bay Marine Park, Blue and John Crow Mountains
National Park, Negril Marine Park, Ocho Rios Marine Park, Palisadoes/Port
Royal, Coral Spring-Mountain Spring and the Portland Bight Protected Areas.
Permits and Licences
I was told that I need a permit for the construction of a resort
project with more than 12 rooms.
Yes. A permit is required by any person undertaking any enterprise,
construction or development of a prescribed nature anywhere in the island
and Jamaica’s territorial waters.
Do I need permission to export certain orchids
collected from the wild?
Yes. You need a permit to export these plants.
Do I need a permit for my hazardous waste storage
Yes. A permit is required for hazardous waste storage,
transportation, treatment or disposal facilities.
What does EIA mean?
This means Environmental Impact Assessment. This is a study that
outlines the impacts that proposed projects are likely to have on the area
where the project will be done. The EIA also indicates the mitigation
measures necessary to reduce any negative impacts on the environment.
What does SEA mean?
This means Strategic Environmental Assessment. This is a decision
making tool to integrate environmental considerations into government policy
and programmes. Its overall objective is to lead to the design of policies
that promote sustainable development.
What is the cost of obtaining a permit or a
The cost of permits and licences vary according to the type
requested. The following is an example. Under the Hazardous Wastes
Regulations the cost of a general export permit is J$16,000, a special
export permit is $8,000 and a transit permit is US$350.
Is a permit a licence?
No. A permit is required by someone who is undertaking an enterprise,
construction or development of a prescribed nature anywhere in Jamaica and
in the territorial waters and trading in endangered species.
A licence is required for the handling of sewage or
trade effluent and poisonous or harmful substances to be discharged into the
What is a prescribed activity?
There are several prescribed categories under the permit and licence
regulations. These include power generation plants above 1 MW, port and
harbour development, housing projects of 10 houses or more, chemical plants
and food processing plants.
Does NEPA have a library?
Yes. NEPA has a specialist Documentation Centre that carries information
about many environmental and planning issues regarding Jamaica. There is
also information regarding other parts of the world.
Is NEPA’s documentation centre open to the public
and do I have to make an appointment?
The Documentation Centre is open to the public and clients are
required to make an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling (876)-512-9130
Opening days are Tuesdays to Thursdays from 9 am to 4 pm.
Can NEPA’s documentation centre assist me to
research a topic?
Yes. The Documentation Centre’s holdings can be used to help
researchers. You can come in and read documents, obtain photocopies and
request copies of specific information. If you are overseas, arrangements
can be made for the copied documents to be delivered to you.
Does NEPA charge for research done?
Currently the Documentation centre does not conduct research for
users. However, users are welcome to come in and utilize the facilities.