The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday said it rejected an application for the construction of an LPG filling station around Wesley Grammar School at Dansoman, but a court order compelled them to issue the permit later.
Mr. Daniel S. Amlalo, Deputy Executive Director, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra that when the owner of the gas station, Mr Hayford Adjei submitted an application for an environmental permit along the access road to Wesley Grammar School in March 2005, the application was refused.
Residents of the area have been questioning why the EPA and Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) have allowed gas station to be sited in a residential area.
Mr Amlalo explained that the EPA refused to grant an environmental permit on grounds of inappropriate location.
"This was after our team had visited the site and held consultations with the neighbourhood.
"Results, from the consultation raised concerns with respect to the (location) of the station particularly in relation to the activities of welders and an alcoholic distillery factory operating in close proximity to the site and the adjoining residential facilities."
Mr Amlalo said the proponent who was dissatisfied with the adverse decision of the EPA appealed to the Minister of Environment and Science for redress.
The Minister duly constituted a technical review committee to hear the case in line with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures, which made room for such an appeal.
Mr Amlalo said the committee after duly considering the case and visiting the site, also refused to grant the permit.
"The proponent subsequently sued the Agency in a High Court for refusing to grant an environmental permit for the project.
"Ruling was delivered on 27th February 2007 in his favour. The Agency was therefore compelled by an order of mandamus, suit numbered B MISC- 723/2006), to reverse its original decision.”
Mr Amlalo said an environmental permit Number 1730 was therefore issued to Hayford Adjei Ventures for the proposed station at Dansoman on May 30, 2007 in compliance with the court order.
He appealed to people interested in undertaking development projects to abide by requirements of EIA since it was the main management tool being used in Ghana presently.
He said the proponent and society benefited from the EIA since it predicted likely problems, conflicts and constraints and determined ways to minimize or avoid them.
"EIA provides means for all parties to be consulted, including public involvement, for agreement to be reached between stakeholders and proponent…,” Mr Amlalo said.