KOTA KINABALU, Oct 24 (Bernama) - Environmental consultants should provide accurate reports on the level of compliance by project proponents to assist the Environment Protection Department (EPD) in taking the necessary action if there are negative impacts or risks identified in relation to the project implementation.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said if an environmental consultant fails to report accurately or intentionally distorts the information, this could be seen as abetting the offence.

"Therefore, the said consultant, together with the project proponent, will also be deemed involved in environmental criminal offences and will be charged in court if there is a strong case to be heard.

"It goes without saying that an environmental compliance report, therefore, should be a transparent document showing the actual conditions on the ground and activities carried out by the proponent in accordance with environmental conditions," she said when officiating the Seminar on Awareness on the Implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) In Sabah, here today.

Christina who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister said the effective implementation of the EIA system would reduce impacts on the environment and subsequently reduce the cost of environmental damage.

She said when adhered to properly, the EIA could contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development goals.

She added proper compliance with mitigation measures would also give a positive image to developers.

"I would like to emphasise that local authorities have a pertinent role in ensuring development activities are being controlled at the beginning.

"I strongly urge you to liaise regularly with EPD or the Department of Environment (Federal) for technical advice to ensure development activities in this State are being implemented in a proper manner according to the existing legislation," Christina said. -- BERNAMA

Source: http://bernama.com/en/news.php?id=1782662