Permits, Land Use, Wetlands, Environmental Impact Assessments

In this case, the plaintiff challenged the decision granting a permit to several projects ranging from shrimp and prawn farming to sugarcane growing and titanium extraction within the Tana Delta. The petition is brought against the public authorities in charge of land use planning and granting permits, namely the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA), the Tana River County Council, the Commissioner of Lands, and the Water Resources management Authority.

The plaintiffs alleged that those projects have been approved in violation to the land use plan and without environmental impact assessment. The plaintiff seek from the court that it issues an order of mandamus requiring the respondents to develop a multiple and comprehensive land use master plan which would be used to guide the land development and the protection of the environment.

The High Court accepted the petition and ordered that the respondent furnished the existing land use plan to all interested stakeholders and that they re-evaluate the plans for the Tana Delta in consultation with the stakeholders and other communities in the areas. At the same time, the High Court required a new assessment of the impact of the projects that were permitted on the Tana Delta wetlands and on the interest of the local communities.