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.             
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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. 
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Is NEPA part of a Ministry of government?

NEPA is an Agency of the Ministry of Health &  Environment
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Protected Species

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.
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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.  
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What are some of the protected species in Jamaica?

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.
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Are there penalties for disobeying the laws for protected species?

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. 
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Is there another name for manatees?

Manatees are also called Sea Cows 
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What does the term “endemic” mean?
Endemic means that the species (plant or animal) is native to Jamaica or is found only here
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Protected Areas

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. 
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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.
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 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.
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 Do I need permission to export certain orchids collected from the wild?

Yes. You need a permit to export these plants.
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Do I need a permit for my hazardous waste storage treatment facility?

Yes. A permit is required for hazardous waste storage, transportation, treatment or disposal facilities.
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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.
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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.
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What is the cost of obtaining a permit or a licence?

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.
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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 environment.
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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.   
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Documentation Centre

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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA)
10 & 11 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5
Tel: 876-754-7540 Fax: 876-754-7595/6
Hotline: 876-1-888-991-5005
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