11 December 2013

Press Statement on National Conservation Law

The CASE council has issued a statement to the press on its position towards the proposed National Conservation Law. The statement was prepared by council members after reviewing the text of the law itself and the feedback provided by CASE members in the recent survey. The full text of the statement is as follows:

The Society of Cayman Architects Surveyors and Engineers Press Release on the 2013 National Conservation Law

The majority of the membership of the Society of Cayman Architects, Surveyors and Engineers (CASE) who responded to a CASE survey on the National Conservation Law, and the CASE Executive Council, agree that the National Conservation Law 2013 is an ‘essential piece of legislation that needs to be enacted as soon as possible.’ Having reviewed the National Conservation Law most CASE members admit that while the law is not perfect, it is appropriate in our context.

The proposed National Conservation Law will eliminate the current practice of addressing the environmental concerns of a proposed major development on an ad-hoc basis without clear requirements or guidelines, which is a welcome relief to investors who will now know upfront what the requirements are for an Environmental Impact Assessment, (EIA). Many international investors are accustomed to considering environmental aspects of a major development prior to the planning application process.

Collaboration between the National Conservation Council and design professionals and developers will be essential to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of the National Conservation Law. CASE Executive Council would urge Cabinet to include in its quota of appointed Conservation Council members representatives from the design, development and construction professions.

The new National Conservation Law is a first step towards a sustainable development policy for the Cayman Islands that if successfully implemented, will hopefully ‘preserve the variety and richness of our natural environment for future generations’.

That said CASE Executive Council is aware of the fact that critical to the long term success of the National Conservation Law is the long overdue update to the Cayman Islands Development Plan and supporting Development and Planning Law and Regulations, as these updates more than any other law will ensure sustainable development in the Cayman Islands for current and future generations.

CASE Executive Council recognizes that some regard the National Conservation Law with uncertainty particularly during this pre-adoption phase. Having reviewed the National Conservation Law CASE Council believe that there is sufficient leeway once the law is implemented, to amend aspects of the Law that may need to be strengthened or relaxed, after a suitable period of monitoring and review.

The Society of Cayman Architects, Surveyors and Engineers supports the immediate adoption of the 2013 National Conservation Law as we recognize and endorse efforts to ‘conserve unique, local, endemic and indigenous features, species and habitats of the Cayman Islands’. CASE Executive Council would advise all CASE members to become actively involved in the many opportunities the National Conservation Law will create.