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National Conservation and Environment Protection Act, 1987 (Act No. 5).

Type of law

This Act is a compendium of various matters related to conservation and environmental protection and management and preservation of historic sites. It empowers the Minister responsible for managing the environment to designate certain land or marine sites as "protected areas". Areas that may be designated as such include national parks, nature reserves, botanical gardens, marine reserves, historic sites, scenic sites, or areas of special interest. The purpose of this Act is to preserve biological diversity of flora and fauna species that may be endemic or threatened by extinction and their habitat, land and marine biological communities, areas that are important for the maintenance of life-support systems such as water and air, and basic ecological processes such as water recharge and soil regeneration. It is also intended to protect scenic sites, or sites of scientific, ecological, historic or archaelogical interest. A procedure is established that must be followed by the Minister before declaring any area protected, namely he must consult with the National Conservation Commission, a body created by this Act, and publish in the Official Gazette a notice indicating the situation and limits of the area or building which is to be protected. This enables persons who have any right or interest to submit their claims or objections to the Minister in writing. The right to a hearing is conceded. If the land is to be acquired, the procedure indicated in the Land Aquisition Act shall be followed.
The Minister shall be responsible for the administration of protected areas but may delegate his functions to conservation and protection societies. The National Conservation Commission is an advisory body whose main purpose is to promote conservation. It shall consist of nine members appointed by the Minister, five of them appointed directly by him; two shall be nominated by the Premier of the Nevis Island Administration; and the remaining two shall be the President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society and the President of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. The Commission is a body corporate with the power of holding in trust property which, after commencement of this Act, shall include all historic monuments and protected areas. The National Assembly shall provide funds for the operations of the Commission. The Commission is empowered to prepare a management plan for each of the protected areas on the basis of the best available scientific information and indication specific measures such as activities that may be prohibited or permitted in the area. For the protection and management of national parks and wildlife, the Minister may nominate experts from regional, national or international organizations, voluntary organizations, business or community groups. Part IV of this Act recognizes the Brimstone Hill Fortress as a national park. This park will be managed by the Society carrying its name. Part VI refers to coast and beach conservation.
All beaches in the country are declared Crown Land, granting the public right of access and use of the beaches. The Minister shall be responsible for preparing a management plan for the coast in order to regulate the ordered development of thes area, and shall authorize the preparation of environmental impact studies before new projects are launched, with the collaboration of other government agencies. No person shall remove any vegetation or sand from the beaches without the permission of the Minister. There is a provision for fines of $1 000 or six months' imprisonment or both for any person removing the natural barriers protecting the island from the sea or removing any vegetation or sand from the beaches or depositing waste matter on them. The Minister may declare certain areas of the coast as protected beaches, prohibiting certain activities on them such as fishing, the use of boats, certain sports, mining or removing treasures or artefacts from the sea bed. These offences are also punished under this Act.
The National Conservation Commission also has wide powers for the management of beaches and maintaining them in good hygenic condition and may prohibit or authorize access to them. Part VII refers to forestry, soil and water conservation. A permit is required to fell trees or remove timber. The Minister is empowered to create forest reserves and prohibit grazing within them. He may establish regulations to protect the soil in areas with critical natural drainage systems and promote adequate practices for the protection of soil against erosion.
The Act authorizes the imposition of a fine of $500 for those who burn the land, fell trees or allow grazing in critical areas. The Minister is authorized to make regulations to protect those places used for water supplies. He may issue regulations with regard to land use, land rehabilitation and adequate management, and conservation measures including full protection for such ground as river banks. Areas of special interest may be created in which it is prohibited to cultivate the land, graze livestock, construct buildings or extract sand. Part VIII deals with the protection of wild animals and birds, indicating in the Third Schedule the species protected, and establishing penalties for those who trade in or export these animals or destroy them. The Minister is fully empowered to lay down special provisions with regard to the management of protected areas, making it a crime to remove coral, flora or fauna, dig or remove artefacts, to pollute the water or to deposit waste matter in these areas.
Long title of text
An Act to provide for the better management and development of the natural and historic resources of Saint Christopher and Nevis for the purpose of conservation; the establishment of national parks, historical and archaelogical sites and other protected areas of natural or cultural importance including the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park; the establishment of a Conservation Commission; and for other matters connected thereto.
Date of text
Publication reference
FAL 37
Source language


Legislation Amendment