The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has given Kenya Railways (KR) the green light to construct the proposed Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line through parts of Kenya’s gazetted forest.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) results gave KR the authority to use a section of the Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Nairobi National Parks as well as the Tsavo Road and Railway National Reserve and Kiboko.
In a paid advert, the NLC and KWS said authority had been granted to KR, pursuant of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) license registration 0014338 on February 5th 2013.
Construction of the KES 327bn project from Mombasa to Nairobi was to begin in August after the acquisition of 11,000 acres along its proposed route.
However, construction has been delayed by the land-buying process, with Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli earlier quoted as saying the NLC had been brought on board to help fast track the land purchase.
China Roads and Bridges Corporation, the contractor is already on the ground after setting up the main campsite in Mtito Andei town and another at the Nairobi South station.
The Government has set aside an initial KES 9bn to compensate land owners with more funds to be made available from the railway development levy.
The right of way for SGR has a width of 130 metres while the total Protected Area affected is 10.38 square kilometres.
KR has undertaken to acquire additional land for wildlife under the principle of “willingness to pay for conservation” for the affected wildlife habitat. The expected variation of Protected Area boundaries shall be to increase the area by annexing additional land for conservation.