Why make it so hard to read impact assessment report?

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the impact of the upcoming Cross Island Line on the highly sensitive parts of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is open to public viewing and feedback, but only through appointment at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) headquarters ("Measures to lessen impact of MRT works on S'pore's largest nature reserve: LTA"; ST Online, Feb 5, and "Tests on nature reserve must be conducted with care: Study"; Feb 11).

Many statutory boards and ministries publish key policy documents and collect feedback online. So, why is public viewing and feedback for a 1,000-page document like this not done online?

How can members of the public meaningfully read, understand and comment on such a document within the timeframe provided?

Moreover, if viewing is available only during office hours, then, that makes it even more inconvenient to view the findings.

With this arrangement, the LTA effectively limits the number of people who can access the EIA, contrary to the spirit of public participation and transparency.

Ezra Ho Suhan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'Why make it so hard to read impact assessment report?'. Print Edition | Subscribe