Environment Tribunal halts SGR work on route through the Nairobi National Park


(Posted 06th April 2017)

Serious doubts over the conclusions drawn by the Environmental Impact Assessment for the second phase of the new Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya have now apparently led to the halt of any work until a thorough review of the EIA and other aspects related to the NEMA approvals given have been carried out. The route chosen through the Nairobi National Park has been one of the most contentious issues in Kenya’s recent conservation history, more so as environmental and conservation groups had drawn up their own route proposals avoiding the park altogether but were shot down in flames by government officials including the head of state headbashing them and warning them off the topic.
Allegations galore emerged when NEMA allegedly caved in under sustained government pressure and issued a licence but this is now subject to a full review as are several elements included and more notably excluded from the EIA and other documents submitted to NEMA before the ill fated decision was made.
KWS Chairperson Dr. Richard Leakey came under sustained criticism over his purported support for the route, when he apparently suggested a raised rail line over the park would have almost no impact. He had two years ago made similar comments suggesting the highway through the Serengeti should also be elevated from the ground, leading to a global s***storm questioning his remaining sanity and this was then of course revived when he stepped into the proverbial again over his stand vis a vis the railway route through the park.
Kenya’s conservation fraternity is now waiting for a time line to be published for the Tribunal’s review of the case and will no doubt roll out the big guns when testimony is called for before the case is determined.
As always, watch this space for breaking and regular conservation news from across the wider Eastern African region.