The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (no 16 of 2013) came into effect in June 2015. One of the changes this new Act has brought is the requirement that municipalities develop wall-to-wall land use (zoning) schemes within 5 years of the Act coming into effect. This would include developing schemes over areas where schemes have traditionally not been developed for, such as agricultural land and land under traditional authority.

A land use scheme is a tool used by the municipality to guide and manage development according to the vision, strategies and policies of the Integrated Development Plan and Spatial Development Framework and in the interest of the general public to promote sustainable development and quality of life.

The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (formally known as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform) developed the National Land Use Scheme Guidelines in 2017 to assist municipalities in developing their schemes. Although these guidelines indicated that biodiversity should be integrated in to land use schemes, they failed to explain how a municipality should go about doing this.

As part of the Planning and Land Use Management component of the Biodiversity and Land Use Project, the development of an Addendum to the National Land Use Scheme Guidelines, focusing specifically on how a municipality can integrate biodiversity into their schemes has been undertaken. A final draft version of the Guideline for Integrating Biodiversity into Land Use Schemes is available and was presented at a number of forums, including the Biodiversity Planning Forum, the National Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Forum and several Provincial Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Forums.

In addition, the BLU project has begun implementing the draft guideline in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga with local municipalities in our target districts.  SANBI is working with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform to have the guideline adopted as an Addendum to the National Land Use Guidelines, and for it to be hosted on the Department’s website alongside these guidelines.

For more information, please contact Sagwata Manyike.

Author: Sagwata Manyike

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