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Tribunal blocks Standard Gauge Railway route through Nairobi National Park

By Luke Anami | Updated Tue, September 20th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3

The National Environment Tribunal has stopped construction of a section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that was to pass through a game park.

Phase 2A of the SGR project, Nairobi-Naivasha section, was to be constructed through the Nairobi National Park.

The orders were issued after activist Okiyah Omtatah and Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation successfully filled an application against National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Wildlife Service, China Road and Bridge Corporation, Kenya Railways Corporation, the Attorney General and the ministries of Environment and Transport.

In a letter dated September 19, the tribunal chairman JK Awuor stopped the planned construction on grounds that Nema had failed to conduct a feasibility study for the project, which is to be undertaken by China Roads and Bridge Corporation company.

The respondents have 21 days to respond to Omtatah's appeal. "Take notice that the National Environment Tribunal has received an appeal from Okiyah Omtatah and Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation and Management against Nema's failure to stop the project, which is currently underway without the benefit of Environmental Impact Assessment licence as mandated and required by law," said Awuor in the letter. Omtatah argues that without an assessment there is no room to explore an alternative route.