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   1.   Interpretation.


   2.   Principles of environment management.

   3.   Right to a decent environment.


The Authority.

   4.   Establishment of the National Environment Management Authority.

   5.   Powers of the authority.

   6.   Functions of the authority, relationship with lead agencies and delegation.

Policy committee on the environment.

   7.   Policy committee on the environment.

The board.

   8.   Establishment and membership of the board.

   9.   Functions and meetings of the board.

   10.   Technical committees.

Staff of the authority.

   11.   Executive director and deputy executive director.

   12.   Functions of the executive director and the deputy executive director.

   13.   Other staff of the authority.

   14.   District environment committee.

   15.   District environment officer.

   16.   Local environment committee.


   17.   Environmental planning at the national level.

   18.   Environmental planning at a district level.


   19.   Project brief and environmental impact assessment.

   20.   Environmental impact statement.

   21.   Consideration of the statement by the lead agency; obligation of the developer.

   22.   Environmental audit.

   23.   Environmental monitoring.


   24.   Air quality standards.

   25.   Water quality standards.

   26.   Standards for the discharge of effluent into water.

   27.   Standards for the control of noxious smells.

   28.   Standards for the control of noise and vibration pollution.

   29.   Standards for subsonic vibrations.

   30.   Soil quality standards.

   31.   Standards for minimisation of radiation.

   32.   Other standards.


   33.   Scope of Part VII.

   34.   Limits on the use of lakes and rivers.

   35.   Management of river banks and lake shores.

   36.   Restrictions on the use of wetlands.

   37.   Management of wetlands.

   38.   Identification of hilly and mountainous areas.

   39.   Reforestation and afforestation of hilltops, hillsides and mountainous areas.

   40.   Other measures for the management of hillsides, hilltops and mountainous areas.

   41.   Guidelines for conservation of biological diversity.

   42.   Conservation of biological resources in situ.

   43.   Conservation of biological resources ex situ.

   44.   Access to the genetic resources of Uganda.

   45.   Management of forests.

   46.   Conservation of energy and planting of trees or woodlots.

   47.   Management of rangelands.

   48.   Land use planning.

   49.   Protection of natural heritage sites.

   50.   Protection of the ozone layer.

   51.   Management of dangerous materials and processes.

   52.   Duty to manage and minimise waste.

   53.   Management of hazardous waste.

   54.   Illegal traffic in waste.

   55.   Guidelines for management of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials.

   56.   Prohibition of discharge of hazardous substances, chemicals, oil, etc. into the environment and spiller's liability.


   57.   Prohibition of pollution contrary to established standards.

   58.   Pollution licences.

   59.   Application for a pollution licence.

   60.   Consideration of the application by the committee.

   61.   Conditions in a pollution licence.

   62.   Fees for a licence.

   63.   Renewal of a pollution licence.

   64.   Cancellation of a pollution licence.

   65.   Register of a pollution licence.

   66.   Disaster preparedness.


   67.   Environmental restoration orders.

   68.   Service of an environmental restoration order.

   69.   Reconsideration of an environmental restoration order.

   70.   Action by the authority on environmental restoration orders.

   71.   Issue of an environmental restoration order by a court.

   72.   Environmental easements.

   73.   Application for an environmental easement.

   74.   Enforcement of an environmental easement.

   75.   Registration of an environmental easement.

   76.   Compensation for environmental easements.


   77.   Recordkeeping.

   78.   Transmission of records to the authority.

   79.   Designation of environmental inspectors.

   80.   Powers and duties of environmental inspectors.

   81.   Procedure for taking samples for analysis.

   82.   Designation of analytical laboratories and reference laboratories.

   83.   Designation of analysts and reference analysts.

   84.   Certificate of analysis and its effect.


   85.   Freedom of access to environmental information.

   86.   Gathering, analysis and management of environmental information.

   87.   Integration of environmental education into the school curriculum.


   88.   Fund of the authority.

   89.   Administration of the fund.

   90.   Duty to operate on sound financial principles.

   91.   Estimates.

   92.   Accounts, audits and annual report.

   93.   Minister's powers in relation to taxation.

   94.   Refundable performance deposit bonds.


   95.   Penalties relating to environmental inspectors.

   96.   Offences relating to impact assessment.

   97.   Offences relating to records.

   98.   Offences relating to environmental standards and guidelines.

   99.   Offences relating to hazardous waste, materials, chemicals and radioactive substances.

   100.   Offences relating to pollution.

   101.   Offences relating to restoration orders and easements.

   102.   General penalty.


   103.   Immunity of officials.

   104.   Appeal from a decision of the authority.

   105.   Forfeiture, cancellation, community service and other orders.


   106.   Conventions and treaties on the environment.


   107.   Power to make regulations.

   108.   Existing laws.

      First Schedule   Composition and proceedings of the policy committee.

      Second Schedule   Composition and proceedings of the board.

      Third Schedule   Projects to be considered for environmental impact assessment.


Commencement: 19 May, 1995.

   An Act to provide for sustainable management of the environment; to establish an authority as a coordinating, monitoring and supervisory body for that purpose; and for other matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.


1.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   (a)   "air quality" means the concentration prescribed under this Act of a pollutant in the atmosphere at the point of measurement;

   (b)   "ambient air" means the atmosphere surrounding the earth but does not include the atmosphere within a structure or within any underground space;

   (c)   "analysis" means the testing or examination of any matter, substance or process for the purpose of determining its composition or qualities or its effect (whether physical, chemical or biological) on any segment of the environment or examination of emissions or recording of noise or subsonic vibrations to determine the level or other characteristics of the noise or subsonic vibration or its effect on any segments of the environment;

   (d)   "analyst" means an analyst designated under section 83;

   (e)   "authority" means the National Environment Management Authority established under section 4;

   (f)   "beneficial use" means a use of the environment or any element or segment of the environment that is conducive to public health, welfare or safety and which requires protection from the effects of wastes, discharges, emissions and deposits;

   (g)   "benefited environment" means that environment which has benefited through the imposition of one or more obligations on the burdened land;

   (h)   "biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems;

   (i)   "burdened land" means that land which is in the vicinity of a benefited environment;

   (j)   "chemical" means a chemical substance in any form whether by itself or in a mixture or preparation whether manufactured or derived from nature and for the purposes of this Act includes industrial chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers and drugs;

   (k)   "developer" means a person who is developing a project which is subject to an environmental impact assessment process;

   (l)   "district environment action plan" means the district environment action plan established under section 18;

   (m)   "effluent" means waste water or other fluid of domestic agricultural trade or industrial origin, treated or untreated and discharged directly or indirectly into the aquatic environment;

   (n)   "element" in relation to the environment means any of the principal constituent parts of the environment, including water, atmosphere, soil, vegetation, climate, sound, odour, aesthetics, fish and wildlife;

   (o)   "environment" means the physical factors of the surroundings of human beings, including land, water, atmosphere, climate, sound, odour, taste, the biological factors of animals and plants and the social factor of aesthetics and includes both the natural and the built environment;

   (p)   "environmental audit" means the systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of how well environmental organisation, management and equipment are performing in conserving the environment and its resources;

   (q)   "environmental education" includes the process of recognising values and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among a person, his or her culture and his or her biophysical surroundings;

   (r)   "environmental impact assessment" means a systematic examination conducted to determine whether or not a project will have any adverse impact on the environment;

   (s)   "environmental impact statement" means the statement described in section 20;

   (t)   "environmental inspector" means any environmental inspector designated under section 79;

   (u)   "environmental monitoring" means the continuous determination of actual and potential effects of any activity or phenomenon on the environment, whether short term or long term;

   (v)   "environmental planning" means both short-term and long-term planning that takes into account environmental issues;

   (w)   "environmental resources" means the resources of the air, land and water, including their aesthetical qualities;

   (x)   "environmental restoration order" means an order provided for under section 67;

   (y)   "ex situ" means conservation outside the natural habitat of the biological organism;

   (z)   "executive director" means the executive director of the authority appointed under section 11;

   (aa)   "fund" means the National Environment Fund established under section 88;

   (bb)   "genetic resources" means genetic material of actual or potential value;

   (cc)   "good environmental practice" means practice that is in accordance with the provisions of this Act and any other law;

   (dd)   "hazardous substance" means any chemical, waste, gas, medicine, drug, plant, animal or micro-organism which is injurious to human health or the environment;

   (ee)   "hazardous waste" means any waste which has been determined by the authority to be a hazardous waste or to belong to any other category of waste provided for in section 53;

   (ff)   "in situ" means conservation within the natural ecosystem and habitat of the biological organism;

   (gg)   "lead agency" means any Ministry, department, parastatal agency, local government system or public officer in which or in whom any law vests functions of control or management of any segment of the environment;

   (hh)   "local environmental committee" means a committee on the environment appointed under section 16 at the municipal, town, division, county and subcounty local government council level or such other lower level of local council as the local government system may determine;

   (ii)   "Minister" means the Minister to whom the President has assigned responsibility for this Act;

   (jj)   "mixture containing oil" means a mixture with such oil content as may be specified by the Minister or, if such oil content is not specified, a mixture with an oil content of 100 parts or more in one million parts of the mixture;

   (kk)   "national environment action plan" means the plan described in section 17;

   (ll)   "noise" means any undesirable sound that is intrinsically objectionable or that can cause adverse effects on human health or the environment;

   (mm)   "occupational air quality" means the concentration prescribed under or pursuant to this Act of a pollutant in the atmosphere within a structure or underground space in which human activities take place;

   (nn)   "occupier" means a person in occupation or control of premises, and in relation to premises different parts of which are occupied by different persons, means the respective persons in occupation or control of each part;

   (oo)   "oil" includes —

      (i)   crude oil, diesel oil, fuel oil and lubricating oil; and

      (ii)   any other description of oil which may be prescribed;

   (pp)   "owner" in relation to any premises means—

      (i)   the registered proprietor of the premises;

      (ii)   the lessee, including a sublessee of the premises;

      (iii)   the agent or trustee of any of the owners described in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of this interpretation or where such owner as described in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) cannot be traced or has died, his or her legal personal representative;

      (iv)   the person for the time being receiving the rent of the premises whether on his or her own account or as agent or trustee for any other person or as receiver of or who would receive the rent if such premises were let to a tenant, and

in relation to any ship means the person registered as the owner of the ship or in the absence of registration, the person owning the ship, except that in the case of a ship owned by any country and operated by a company which in that country is registered as the ship's operator, "owner" shall include such country;

   (qq)   "ozone layer" means the layer of the atmospheric zone above the plenary boundary layer as defined in the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985;

   (rr)   "policy committee" means the policy committee on the environment established under section 7;

   (ss)   "pollutant" includes any substance whether liquid, solid or gaseous which directly or indirectly—

      (i)   alters the quality of any segment or element of the receiving environment so as to affect any beneficial use adversely; or

      (ii)   is hazardous or potentially hazardous to health, and objectionable odours, radioactivity, noise, temperature change or physical, chemical or biological change to any segment or element of the environment;

   (tt)   "pollution" means any direct or indirect alteration of the physical, thermal, chemical, biological or radioactive properties of any part of the environment by discharging, emitting or depositing wastes so as to affect any beneficial use adversely, to cause a condition which is hazardous or potentially hazardous to public health, safety or welfare, or to animals, birds, wildlife, fish or aquatic life, or to plants or to cause a contravention of any condition, limitation or restriction which is subject to a licence under this Act;

   (uu)   "pollution licence" means a pollution licence issued under section 58;

   (vv)   "practicable" means reasonably practicable having regard, among other things, to local conditions and circumstances and to the current state of technical knowledge, and the term "practicable means" includes the provision and the efficient maintenance of plants and the proper use thereof, and the supervision by or on behalf of the occupier of any process or operation;

   (ww)   "premises" includes messuages, buildings, lands, and hereditaments in every tenure and machinery, plants or vehicles used in connection with any trade carried on at any premise;

   (xx)   "prescribed" means prescribed by or under this Act or continued in operation by this Act or under regulations, standards and guidelines made pursuant to this Act;

   (yy)   "project" includes both project and policy that leads to projects with an impact on the environment;

   (zz)   "project brief" means a summary statement of the likely environmental effects of a proposed development referred to in section 19;

   (aaa)   "proprietary information" means information relating to any manufacturing process, trade secret, trademark, copyright, patent or formula protected by law or by international treaties to which Uganda is a party;

   (bbb)   "radiation" includes ionising radiations and any other radiation likely to have adverse effects on human health and the environment;

   (ccc)   "regulations" means regulations made under section 107;

   (ddd)   "segment" in relation to the environment means any portion or portions of the environment expressed in terms of volume, space, area, quantity, quality or time or any combination thereof;

   (eee)   "ship" includes every description of vessel or craft or floating structure;

   (fff)   "soil" includes earth, sand, rock, shales, minerals, vegetation, and the soil flora and fauna in the soil and derivatives thereof such as dust;

   (ggg)   "standard" means the limits of pollution established under Part VI of this Act or under regulations made under this Act or any other law;

   (hhh)   "sustainable development" means development that meets the needs of this generation without compromising the rights of future generations;

   (iii)   "sustainable use" means present use which does not compromise the right to use the same resource by future generations;

   (jjj)   "technical committee" means a technical committee appointed under section 10;

   (kkk)   "trade" means any trade, business or undertaking whether originally carried on at fixed premises or at varying places which results in the discharge of waste and includes any activity prescribed to be a trade, business or undertaking for the purposes of this Act;

   (lll)   "Uganda Revenue Authority" means the Uganda Revenue Authority established under the Uganda Revenue Authority Act;

   (mmm)   "waste" includes any matter prescribed to be waste and any matter, whether liquid, solid, gaseous or radioactive, which is discharged, emitted or deposited in the environment in such volume, composition or manner as to cause an alteration of the environment;

   (nnn)   "water" includes drinking water, river, stream, watercourse, reservoir, well, dam, canal, channel, lake, swamp, open drain or underground water;

   (ooo)   "wetland" means areas permanently or seasonally flooded by water where plants and animals have become adopted.


2.   Principles of environment management.

   (1) The authority shall ensure that the principles of environment management set out in subsection (2) are observed.

   (2) The principles of environment management referred to in subsection (1) are—

   (a)   to assure all people living in the country the fundamental right to an environment adequate for their health and well-being;

   (b)   to encourage the maximum participation by the people of Uganda in the development of policies, plans and processes for the management of the environment;

   (c)   to use and conserve the environment and natural resources of Uganda equitably and for the benefit of both present and future generations, taking into account the rate of population growth and the productivity of the available resources;

   (d)   to conserve the cultural heritage and use the environment and natural resources of Uganda for the benefit of both present and future generations;

   (e)   to maintain stable functioning relations between the living and non-living parts of the environment through preserving biological diversity and respecting the principle of optimum sustainable yield in the use of natural resources;

   (f)   to reclaim lost ecosystems where possible and reverse the degradation of natural resources;

   (g)   to establish adequate environmental protection standards and to monitor changes in environmental quality;

   (h)   to publish relevant data on environmental quality and resource use;

   (i)   to require prior environmental assessments of proposed projects which may significantly affect the environment or use of natural resources;

   (j)   to ensure that environmental awareness is treated as an integral part of education at all levels;

   (k)   to ensure that the true and total costs of environmental pollution are borne by the polluter;

   (l)   to promote international cooperation between Uganda and other states in the field of the environment.

3.   Right to a decent environment.

   (1) Every person has a right to a healthy environment.

   (2) Every person has a duty to maintain and enhance the environment, including the duty to inform the authority or the local environment committee of all activities and phenomena that may affect the environment significantly.

   (3) In furtherance of the right to a healthy environment and enforcement of the duty to maintain and enhance the environment, the authority or the local environment committee so informed under subsection (2) is entitled to bring an action against any other person whose activities or omissions have or are likely to have a significant impact on the environment to—

   (a)   prevent, stop or discontinue any act or omission deleterious to the environment;

   (b)   compel any public officer to take measures to prevent or to discontinue any act or omission deleterious to the environment;

   (c)   require that any ongoing activity be subjected to an environmental audit in accordance with section 22;

   (d)   require that any ongoing activity be subjected to environmental monitoring in accordance with section 23;

   (e)   request a court order for the taking of other measures that would ensure that the environment does not suffer any significant damage.

   (4) The authority or the local environment committee proceeding under subsection (3) is entitled to bring an action notwithstanding that the person cannot show that the defendant's act or omission has caused or is likely to cause any personal loss or injury.


The Authority.

4.   Establishment of the National Environment Management Authority.

   (1) There is established a body to be called the National Environment Management Authority.

   (2) The authority shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.

   (3) The authority shall, in its own name, be capable of suing and being sued and doing and suffering all acts and things as bodies corporate may lawfully do or suffer.

   (4) The authority shall be under the general supervision of the Minister.

5.   Powers of the authority.

   The authority shall be the principal agency in Uganda for the management of the environment and shall coordinate, monitor and supervise all activities in the field of the environment.

6.   Functions of the authority, relationship with lead agencies and delegation.

   (1) The functions of the authority are—

   (a)   to coordinate the implementation of Government policy and the decisions of the policy committee;

   (b)   to ensure the integration of environmental concerns in overall national planning through coordination with the relevant Ministries, departments and agencies of the Government;

   (c)   to liaise with the private sector, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental agencies and governmental agencies of other States on issues relating to the environment;

   (d)   to propose environmental policies and strategies to the policy committee;

   (e)   to initiate legislative proposals, standards and guidelines on the environment in accordance with this Act;

   (f)   to review and approve environmental impact assessments and environmental impact statements submitted in accordance with this Act or any other law;

   (g)   to promote public awareness through formal, non-formal and informal education about environmental issues;

   (h)   to undertake such studies and submit such reports and recommendations with respect to the environment as the Government or the policy committee may consider necessary;

   (i)   to ensure observance of proper safeguards in the planning and execution of all development projects, including those already in existence that have or are likely to have significant impact on the environment determined in accordance with Part V of this Act;

   (j)   to undertake research and disseminate information about the environment;

   (k)   to prepare and disseminate a state of the environment report once in every two years;

   (l)   to mobilise, expedite and monitor resources for environmental management;

   (m)   to perform such other functions as the Government may assign to the authority or as are incidental or conducive to the exercise by the authority of any or all of the functions provided for under this Act.

   (2) The authority may in the performance of its functions under subsection (1) delegate, by statutory instrument, any of those functions to a lead agency, a technical committee, the executive director or any other public officer.

   (3) In the exercise by the authority of its coordinating, monitoring and supervisory function in the field of the environment, a lead agency shall not be released from performing its duties as prescribed by law.

   (4) Each lead agency charged with the management of any segment of the environment under any law shall submit to the authority—

   (a)   within two months after the expiry of every two years, a report on its operation during that period;

   (b)      such other reports as may be prescribed by the policy committee and at such times as may be so prescribed,

on the state of that segment of the environment and the measures taken by the lead agency to maintain or improve the environment.

Policy committee on the environment.

7.   Policy committee on the environment.

   (1) There shall be a policy committee on the environment consisting of the members set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

   (2) The functions of the policy committee on the environment shall be—

   (a)   to provide policy guidelines and to formulate and coordinate environmental policies for the authority;

   (b)   to liaise with the Cabinet on issues affecting the environment;

   (c)   to identify obstacles to the implementation of environmental policies and programmes and ensure implementation of those policies and programmes;

   (d)   to perform any other function that may be assigned to it by the Government.

   (3) The chairperson of the board and the executive director shall be ex officio members of the policy committee.

   (4) The First Schedule to this Act shall have effect so far as the meetings of the policy committee and other matters specified in that Schedule are concerned.

   (5) The Minister may, on the advice of the policy committee, by statutory instrument, amend the First Schedule.

The board.

8.   Establishment and membership of the board.

   (1) There shall be a board of directors of the authority.

   (2) The board shall be appointed by the Minister with the approval of the policy committee.

   (3) The board shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and seven other members drawn from the bodies specified in the Second Schedule to this Act.

   (4) The members of the board referred to in subsection (3) shall serve for three years and be eligible for reappointment for a further term.

   (5) The members appointed under subsection (2) shall be persons who qualify by virtue of their knowledge and experience in environmental management.

   (6) The executive director shall be an ex officio member of the board.

9.   Functions and meetings of the board.

   (1) The functions of the board shall be—

   (a)   to oversee the implementation and successful operation of the policy and functions of the authority;

   (b)   to review the policy and strategic plan of the authority;

   (c)   to provide guidance to the executive director and staff;

   (d)   to approve the annual budget and plans of the authority;

   (e)   to monitor and evaluate the performance of the authority against budgets and plans;

   (f)   to establish and approve rules and procedures for the appointment, discipline, termination and terms and conditions of service of the staff, administrative matters and financial matters;

   (g)   any other duties assigned to it by this Act.

   (2) The policy committee may, from time to time, give directions to the board on matters of policy, and the board shall comply with those directions.

   (3) The Second Schedule to this Act shall have effect so far as meetings of the board and other matters specified in that Schedule are concerned.

   (4) The Minister may,

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