Development application reviews
In 2020, on behalf of the National Conservation Council, the EMU (as part of the DoE’s Technical Review Committee) reviewed 499 planning applications, 13 coastal works applications and 24 general consultations under section 41 of the National Conservation Law.
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)
Three EIA Screening Opinions were issued (proposed rock groyne at the Wyndham Reef Resort and two Opinions for expansion of the Westin hotel). The Screening Opinions concluded that an EIA was not required for these projects.
A Scoping Opinion was issued for an update to the Cruise Berthing EIA in January 2020.
The Department also provided input to a request for proposals for consultants to develop Terms of Reference for the proposed east-west arterial highway extension EIA.
The EMU was involved with the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order against unauthorised filling of Crown- owned seabed in the North Sound. This case is the subject of ongoing investigations with a file submitted to the DPP in December 2020.
Policy and Guidance
Greening the Economy
Following the COVID outbreak in Cayman, the Department was lead author on an economic recovery report entitled ‘Seizing the Movement to Transition to a Greener Economy’, with the EMU being key members of the team that authored the report.
Species Conservation Plans
The EMU contributed to the preparation of the Interim Directive for the designation of Critical Habitat of Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and all other species that may occur in Cayman waters including Kemp’s Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) and hybrids. The Directive came into effect in August 2020.
It also assisted with public outreach on the Mangrove Conservation Plan, which was gazetted in April 2020.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
In September 2020 the EMU submitted the annual greenhouse gas emission inventory to the UK for 2019. The inventory is used to calculate the country’s emissions.
Fishing Line Recycling Initiative
The EMU continues to spearhead the Department’s fishing line recycling programme, collecting discarded line from its bins installed at a number of locations across the three islands. In 2020, 162 pounds of line was collected for shipment overseas for recycling.
Turtle Friendly Lighting
The EMU continued to work with existing properties on Seven Mile Beach to retrofit to turtle friendly lighting and initiated Phase 2 of the turtle friendly lighting programme. The Unit led the call for expressions of interest for properties in critical habitat in Grand Cayman to retrofit to turtle friendly lighting. Following a period of consultation, 24 properties expressed interest in having turtle friendly lighting and the Unit is now working with eligible properties to design turtle friendly lighting plans and procure appropriate fixtures.
Planning conditions requiring turtle friendly lighting
The EMU reviewed seven turtle friendly lighting plans – 5 for residential schemes and 2 for new hotel developments (Beach Bay Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Grand Hyatt, Pageant Beach).
Social media posts
- A series of posts on the role of mangroves, the mangrove conservation plan and mangrove trimming
- Infographics on greenhouse gas
- A series of posts on turtle friendly lighting retrofit
- A series of posts on green economic recovery, with
Presentations given by EMU in 2020
- Cayman Prep Career Fair presentations on the role of the DoE, types of jobs, the role of the EMU, turtle friendly lighting and drone work and different requirements for the various roles at DoE.
- Grand View, SMB presentation on turtle friendly lighting.
- Mangrove conservation plan presentation to the Mangrove Rangers.
- Lunch n’learn presentation to DoE staff on shoreline analysis of Seven Mile Beach. Dept of Lands & Survey presentation on shoreline analysis of Seven Mile Beach.
- R3 group presentations on climate change, Seven Mile Beach and ecosystem services. CUC presentation on – Mangrove Conservation Plan and mangrove trimming guidelines.
- Clifton Hunter High School – climate change.
- The Pinnacle, SMB presentation on turtle friendly lighting.
Freedom of Information (FOI)
The EMU handles all department FOI requests and in 2020 there were 6 FOI requests received, 2 of which resulted in decisions that were appealed to the Ombusman’s office. The appeals resulted in a resolution to the satisfaction of the Ombudsman and did not proceed to a formal hearing.