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Department of Environment Advises on Overwater Structures

The Department of the Environment (DOE) of Belize has released information advising the general public that environmental clearance is required for the construction and renovation of Overwater Structures. Overwater Structures, depending on their size and location, could have significant impacts on the environment, and as such, the Department, in consultation with key stakeholders, prepared the National Environmental Guidelines on Overwater Structures.

The National Environmental Guidelines on Overwater Structures was finalized back in 2010 and is available for download on the DOE’s website at For the purpose of these Guidelines, the following definition for “overwater structure” is used: Any structure suitable for use as a restaurant, bar, dive shop or dwelling especially for commercial purposes and the enjoyment by tourists, which extends in any part beyond the shoreline of any public water or publicly-owned water body and includes pontoons and floatels.

These structures have been proposed primarily for tourism purposes in the coastal areas such as the offshore cayes, riverbanks and lagoons. The DOE recognizes that developments of this nature should be conducted in a prudent and regulated manner, and hence developed such environmental guidelines for the benefit of all.

The DOE hereby advises developers to ensure that they have received all the relevant approvals/permits/licences/clearance from the DOE and other government agencies pertaining to such structures. Please contact us using the information below to commence the Environmental Clearance Process for overwater structures.

For further information, please contact:

Chief Environmental Officer
Department of the Environment

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment & Sustainable Development
Market Square, Belmopan
Tel: 822-2548/2819
Fax: 822-2860
Email: or

Website:   Facebook: Department of the Environment – DOE

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