The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has put developers on notice that they will be prosecuted if they fail to observe environmental laws.

Nema director general Ayub Macharia said that contractors were taking on jobs such as road, housing and civil works without guiding the sponsors on safety regulations.

“Developers have complained of increased project costs when Nema enforces environmental laws due to negligence of some contractors,” Dr Macharia said, adding that compliance in the real estate sector had fallen as more investors cash in on a sustained boom.

Under the Nema Act failure to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an offence punishable by a two-year jail term, a fine of Sh2 million or both.

The director-general said property developers and contractors would be required to present EIA licences for inspection at construction sites at all times.

With rising demand for housing, some developers and contractors were straining amenities such as roads and sewerage systems, often by-passing due process. Others dodge the Nema approvals to avoid paying the prescribed fee of 0.1 per cent of the project cost required for the processing of an EIA licence.

But some contractors blamed consultants and developers for the lapse. “It is the duty of clients to engage experts and prepare environmental assessment reports for approval by Nema and not contractors,” said Moses Muhia of the Federation of Master Builders.