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January 21, 2018

Tribunal halts construction of road in Nairobi National Park

AT RISK: The city, which surrounds the National Park is growing  rapidly.
AT RISK: The city, which surrounds the National Park is growing rapidly.

A three-member panel of the National Environment Tribunal (NET) has stopped the construction of a section of the Southern Bypass in the Nairobi National Park.   

NET has also asked the Ministry of Roads and the Government to follow the law if it wishes to de-gazette the relevant section of the park.

Through Kenya National Highgway Authority (KENHA), the Government had intended to put up a 4-km section of the Southern Bypass in Nairobi National Park.

Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), East Africa Wildlife Society and conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu had appealed to the Environmental Tribunal to stop KENHA from constructing a section of the road through the Park.

The parties had accused KENHA and the Ministry of Roads of contravening conditions given by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) when it issued the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licence for the road.

They further argued that  besides affecting the wildlife in the national park, the road would have failed to adhere to civil aviation regulation that requires the preservation of a 570m buffer zone from a runway. The road is near the Wilson Airport.

The three- member tribunal ruled that there was imminent threat of encroachment in the park if construction was allowed to continue.

They said NEMA ought to have declined to issue the license for the entire bypass based on this. NET has cancelled the license issued by NEMA meaning there will be no road constructed through the park.

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