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Environmental Approvals and Protection

The construction industry, like any other commercial activity in the province, must take steps to protect the environment during planning and execution of construction-related projects.

Certain projects will require an environmental assessment review even before construction begins. Other provincial requirements focus on protecting the environment during the actual construction work.

See the Environment Act and associated regulations.

Air Quality
Requirement Act / Regulations
A person must not carry out, cause, permit or be responsible for the burning of a designated material. Section 4(1) Air Quality Regulations
Material banned from burning Schedule B of the Air Quality Regulations
To obtain a burning permit, please contact your municipality or the Department of Natural Resources.
More Information - Burning (Fire) Permit: Industrial / Domestic (DNR)
Section 23 Forests Act;

Forest Fire Protection Regulations 3A (1) (a) and (b)

The project must not contribute to an exceedance of the maximum permissible ground level concentrations.

Schedule A of the Air Quality Regulations
Environmental Assessment
Requirement Documents Act / Regulations
Certain activities or undertakings may require the completion of an Environmental Assessment (EA). These include industrial facilities, mining, transportation, energy, waste management and other projects as defined in the Regulations. Developments That Require Environmental Assessment (PDF) Schedule "A" of the Environmental Assessment Regulations - Class I and Class II Undertakings
Registration of an Undertaking* (as defined in the EA Regulations)   Section 33(a) Environment Act and Section 9(1) Environmental Assessment Regulations
Obtain an Environmental Assessment Approval
More Information

Fee Schedule (PDF)

Guide (PDF)

More guides

Section 32(1) and (2) Environment Act

More Information

About Environmental Assessments

Preparing an Environmental Assessment

Spills and Contaminated Sites
Requirement Act / Regulations
Duty to report the release of a contaminant Part VI, S. 69 of the Environment Act; and Section 6, Schedule "A" of the Environmental Emergency Regulations

More Information

Petroleum Storage Tanks

Construction Debris Disposal and Recycling

Construction materials and debris must be properly disposed.

Protected Areas, Nature Reserves, Wilderness Areas

In Nova Scotia, protected areas have been established to safeguard the species, ecosystems, and other natural features within a designated area. Therefore, any activities which may cause damage or disturbance to natural features (such as forestry, mining, road-building, motorized vehicle use) are restricted or prohibited.

To determine whether the construction project is within the boundaries of a protected area, check the Protected Areas map for: Nature Reserve, Heritage River, or Wilderness Area.

Protected Areas, Nature Reserves, Wilderness Areas
Requirement Document Act / Regulations
Protect Wilderness Protecting Wilderness: A Summary of Nova Scotia's Wilderness Areas Protection Act (PDF) Wilderness Areas Protection Act
Be aware of restricted activities in an ecological site (nature reserve). Activities which alter the terrain, vegetation, or disturb the fauna or flora are prohibited unless an ecological research permit is obtained.
n/a Section 17 Special Places Protection Act
Avoid prohibited activities in Wilderness Areas n/a Section 17(1) Wilderness Areas Protection Act
Attain a license relating to existing legal rights or interests in a wilderness area n/a Section 25 Wilderness Areas Protection Act
Attain a license to access private land surrounded by a wilderness area n/a Section 26 Wilderness Areas Protection Act
Requirement Act / Regulations
Follow the Beaches Act and Beaches Regulation (restricted activities, use of vehicles, beach development, removal of beach aggregate) Beaches Act
Sections 5, 6, 7 and 9 Beaches Regulations
Attain a Protected Beach Vehicle Permit to operate any vehicle for any purpose on a "protected" beach in Nova Scotia (as designated the Beaches Act). See list of designated beaches.
More Information
Beaches Act
Sections 9 Beaches Regulations
Requirement Act / Regulations
Travel In Woods During Woods Closure Permit to travel on forest land while a travel ban (woods closure) is in force.
More Information
Section 25 Forests Act

Pollution Prevention