About 30 stakeholders in the Overberg District attended a meeting on 7 November 2008 about the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Proposed Eskom Bantamsklip Transmission Lines. The meeting was organized by the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative and the Overberg Integrated Conservation Group (OICG), and was conducted by consultants Arcus Gibb and Nomi Muthialu and Associates (NMA).
Stakeholders at the meeting expressed concern about the fact that the power lines EIA was being conducted separately from the EIA already underway for Eskom’s three proposed nuclear power station sites – Bantamsklip 10km south of Pearly Beach, Duynefontein near Koeberg and Thyspunt near Cape St Francis. No final decision has been taken about the three proposed nuclear power stations.
The power lines EIA is designed to assess the biophysical, social and economic impacts of several potential routes, or propose alternative routes, for four 765KV lines from Bantamsklip to the Kappa substation, four 400KV lines to the Bacchus substation and one 400KV line from Bacchus to Muldersvlei. Depending on the designs chosen for the pylon structures, the servitude for four parallel lines could be up to 320 metres wide.
The proposed routes have the potential to pass through threatened habitats, threatened biodiversity or critical wetlands. As part of the scoping phase, specialist studies are being conducted in a number of fields – including a botanical impact assessment by Nick Helme, a bird study by Chris van Rooyen and a study on mammals, reptiles and amphibians by James Harrison. The consultants have been asked to add a wetlands specialist study, given that the two proposed routes to Kappa pass directly though the sensitive Nuwejaars wetland system.