By Our Reporters
The Minister of Lands , Housing and Urban Development Ms. Judith Nabakooba has launched the Physical Planning ( Planning Conditions for Location of fuel Stations ) regulations 2022 which are meant to regulate the setting up of fuel stations in cities and urban centers .
According to Nabakooba the new regulations have been developed by the National Physical Planning Board together with MLHUD in consultation with various stakeholders who included Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Private Sector.
“The stakeholders consulted were the Top Management of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Ministry of Local Government; Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development; Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development; the Uganda Police Force, Kampala Capital City Authority; National Environment Management Authority; Uganda National Bureau of Standards; National Building Review Board; Uganda National Roads Authority, Uganda Local Government Association, Fuel station Developers and Operators, among others,” she said.
Minister Nabakooba explained that for anyone setting up a fuel station they will be required to get development permission which must be applied for by the developer from the relevant Local government.
“The developer applies for the building permit and for an environment and Social impact assessment done by NEMA. Thereafter the developer shall apply for a petroleum facility construction permit.
“This is provided for under sections 3,4 5 and 6 of the physical planning regulations gazetted under statutory instrument of 2022. The regulations under part 3 provide for planning conditions for locations of fuel stations near facilities and sensitive eco systems,” she added.
Nabakooba implored all stakeholders in establishment of fuel stations – especially the physical planning committees at various levels to earnestly consider the use of the new regulations whenever a fuel station is to be constructed.
She said that developers who constructed fuel stations against the Boards’ directive will be handled according to the law . The regulations provides for an offence and a conviction to a fine of 960,0000 nine hundred sixty thousand or imprisonment of upto 2 ( two) years.
It should be noted that Uganda is faced with monumental challenges in spatial development largely attributed to limited compliance to policy and legal framework on physical planning and development control.
There is a growing concern over the increasing number of fuel stations, particularly in urban areas, especially in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. In some areas there are over ten (10) fuel stations within a distance of one kilometer. By any standards ten (10) or so fuel stations in one kilometer are too many.
The Minister noted that this state of affairs raises serious health, environmental and safety concerns for the citizens and results into some form of spatial nuisance.
“Some of the fuel stations are located in congested commercial and residential areas. To make matters worse, some have been established in total disregard of the existing legal and land use framework,” Nabakooba observed adding that there was no clear coordination mechanism amongst government institutions in approval processes, supervision and enforcement of compliance to minimum standards and conditions on establishment and development of fuel stations.