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Advisory Council on the Environment

 

Confirmed Minutes of the 68th Meeting ofthe Advisory Council on the Environment
held on 29 November 1999 at 2:30 p.m.

Present:

Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)
Mr. CHAN Kwok-wai, JP
Mr. Clement CHEN
Mr. Barrie COOK
Mr. Paul C. H. FAN
Professor Anthony HEDLEY, JP
Dr. HO Kin-chung
Professor LAM Kin-che
Mr. Edwin LAU
Mr. Joseph LAU Man-wai, JP
The Hon. Dr. LEONG Che-hung
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Mr. Otto L. T. POON
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH
Ms Iris TAM
Miss Alex YAU
Mr. Plato YIP
Mrs. Philomena LEUNG (Secretary) (PAS(E)3/PELB)


Absent with Apologies:

Miss Ann CHIANG
Professor Peter HILLS
Mr. TAN Teng Huat


In Attendance:

 

Mr. Gordon SIU Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (SPEL)
Mr. Kim SALKELD Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (Environment) (DS(E), PELB)
Mr. Mike STOKOE Acting Director of Environmental Protection (Atg. DEP)
Mr. S P LAU Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD)
Mr. Raymond CHIU Assistant Director (Technical Services), Planning Department (Plan D)
Dr. Constance CHAN Assistant Director (Health Adm & Planning), Department of Health (AD(HP)/D of Health)
Ms. Polly LEUNG Principal Information Officer, Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
Mr. Maurice LOO Assistant Secretary (Environment) 4, PELB (AS(E)4/PELB)
Miss Cora SO Executive Officer (Environment), PELB
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 4:
 
Mrs. Ava Ng Deputy Director (Territorial) Plan D (DD(T)/Plan D)
Mr. Chandran Nair Study Director, ERM-HK Ltd (SD/ERM)
Mr. Steve Laister Study Manager, ERM-HK Ltd (SM/ERM)
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 5:
 
Mr. Howard Chan Principal Assistant Secretary (Environment)1, PELB (PAS(E)1/PELB)
Mr. Elvis Au Assistant Director (Environmental Assessment), EPD (AD(EA)/EPD)
Mr. C L Wong Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Noise Management and Policy Group), EPD (SEPO(NP)/EPD)
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 6:
 
Mr. Howard Chan PAS(E)1/PELB
Dr. Alain Lam Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Air Policy Group), EPD (PEPO(AP)/EPD)
Mr. Lau Kwok-fan Chief Building Services Engineer (Division 2), Architectural Services Department (ASD) (CBSE/ASD)
Mr. K W Kwan Senior Building Services Engineer (Regionalization, Energy Audit & Air Quality, Electrical & Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) (SBSE/EMSD)
Mr. C M Poon Senior Occupational Hygienist (Occupational Health), Labour Department (LD) (SOH/LD)
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 7:
 
Mr. K B To Senior Engineer (Sewage Services), Drainage Services Department (DSD) (SE(SS)/DSD)
Mr. David Wu Senior Chemist (Sewage Services), DSD (SC(SS)/DSD)
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 8:
 
Mr. Stephen Fisher Deputy Secretary (Urban Renewal & Buildings), PELB (DS(URB)/PELB)
Ms. Olivia Nip Principal Assistant Secretary (Urban Renewal), PELB (PAS(UR)/PELB)
Mr. T K Lee Acting Assistant Director (Urban Renewal), Plan D (Atg. AD(UR)/Plan D)
Mr. J J Austin Assistant Secretary (Urban Renewal), PELB (AS(UR)/PELB)
 
In Attendance for AOB:
 
Mr. Elvis Au AD(EA)/EPD
Mr. W K Tam Assistant Director (Civil)/Special Duties, Civil Engineering Department (CED) (AD(SD)/CED)

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Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 67th Meeting held on 15 October 1999  
2. A Member said that she would like to propose some amendments but she did not have time to go into the details of the draft minutes. As such, the Chairman said that confirmation of the minutes of the 67th meeting would be deferred to the next meeting.  
Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising  
Para. 3 : Visit to the Environmental Protection Bureau of Guangdong  
3. The Chairman said that the visit would be held on 30 November and would last for two days. Members also noted that a delegation of 11, comprising the Chairman, 7 Members and three government officials, would visit the Environmental Protection and Resources Committee of the Guangdong People's Congress, the Planning Committee of the Guangdong Province, the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Guangdong Province as well as a local sewage treatment plant.  
Para. 4 : Shotcreted Slopes  
4. The Secretariat was arranging for the visit and would inform Members of the details once available. Secretariat
Para. 6 : Target dates for HK's major rivers and marine waters to meet their Water Quality Objectives  
5. Atg. DEP said that EPD was preparing a paper setting out the expected timing when the Water Quality Objectives for major rivers and marine waters could be achieved. He said that the paper would be made available by the next meeting.  
Para. 10 : Proposals for alternative noise mitigation measures  
6. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman said that the EIA Subcommittee did not have sufficient time to discuss the proposals at its last meeting, and the item was therefore deferred for discussion at the next meeting on 6 December 1999. He said that he would report to the Council on the outcome of the discussion in due course. EIA Subcommittee
Agenda Item 3 : Report of the 48th EIA Subcommittee Meeting
(ACE Paper 44/99)
 
7. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman reported that the Subcommittee considered two EIA reports and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Technical Report (SEATR) of the Third Comprehensive Transport Strategy (CTS-3) at its last meeting. One of the EIA reports, entitled "Route 16 Investigation Assignment - Alternative Alignment Study", was endorsed without conditions by circulation to Members on 2 November. Members of the Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the other EIA report, entitled "Essential Public Infrastructure Works - Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Tuen Mun Centre and the Eastern Access Road", without conditions. The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to endorse the EIA report without conditions.  
8. Regarding the discussion on the SEATR, the EIA Subcommittee Chairman reported that the Administration had reaffirmed that environmental impact would be taken as one of the deciding factors in formulating future transport strategies. However, Subcommittee Members were concerned that the predicted air quality and noise impact of the recommended transport strategy in the CTS-3 could not be brought to an environmentally acceptable level by 2016. Subcommittee Members also urged the Administration to put in place traffic demand management measures to halt the deterioration of environmental conditions. Although the Administration agreed to develop a monitoring and auditing programme to assess the environmental impact of future transport strategies, the EIA Subcommittee Chairman was also concerned that there was no clear indication on when the programme would be implemented and how it would be financed.  
9. The Chairman said that the Council should have another opportunity to have a full discussion with the Administration on the issue and to furnish the Administration with Members' comprehensive views on the Study. SPEL agreed that the Council should play a full part in the process of drawing up the future transport strategy and PELB and the Secretariat would facilitate the Council in having further discussions with the Administration.  
10. The Chairman asked the green groups whether it would be useful to have a separate meeting to present their views on the CTS-3 study. A Member agreed that it would be preferable to have another meeting with the Administration on the issue and the green groups would present their consolidated feedback on the Study at the meeting.  
11. The Chairman proposed that the special meeting be scheduled for mid-January 2000. Secretariat
Agenda Item 4 : Sustainable Development in Hong Kong for the 21st Century - Second Stage Public Consultation
(ACE Paper 48/99)
 
12. The Chairman welcomed DD(T)/Plan D, SD/ERM and SM/ERM to the meeting. A video on the background and general findings of the SUSDEV 21 Study was shown to Members.  
13. Regarding the definition of sustainable development proposed in the Study, the Chairman suggested replacing the words "achieving…better environmental quality" with "achieving…healthy/ acceptable environmental qualities" to set out more specifically the standards of sustainable environmental conditions which should be aimed at. SD/ERM thanked the Chairman for his views and agreed to consider his suggestion carefully.  
14. A Member commented that concrete action plans should be devised to set out when quantifiable targets regarding environmental conditions would be achieved. SM/ERM said that the guiding principles already reflected the objectives and general direction of the Study in terms of the environment. In addition, the proposed Computer Aided Sustainability Evaluation Tool (CASET) would provide users with various sustainability indicators so that users could view the effects of a particular policy or project on these indicators and whether the effects would meet existing statutory targets like air and water quality objectives. Users could always devise new targets to reflect an increase in environmental standards or an increase in the expectation of stakeholders.  
15. A Member said that the aim of CASET was to assist the decision-makers' evaluation of the sustainability of strategic policies and proposals. However, he said that the effectiveness of the tool depended much on the scope of implementation. SD/ERM concurred with the view and said that the consultants and the Administration was in the process of developing an implementation mechanism which would assist decision-makers in deciding on the types of policies or projects which would be subject to evaluation by CASET. In developing the mechanism, SD/ERM added that the aim was to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the decision-making process and at the same time, to avoid creating more red tape and wasting resources.  
16. In response to the Chairman's query, DD(T)/Plan D said that the Administration had not yet decided under what circumstances would projects be evaluated by CASET and whether the results would be incorporated into submissions to LegCo or Finance Committee. She added that a decision would be made upon collecting views from different sectors of the community during the on-going consultation exercise.  
17. A Member said that the term "balances" in the proposed definition of sustainable development seemed to imply a reactive action after a particular policy or project had been committed. He suggested replacing the term with "integrates" to better illustrate the proactive effort which would be made to take into account all social, economic and environmental factors during the planning stage before the formulation of a policy or project. He was also concerned that the emphasis of the guiding principles seemed to be on particular projects instead of on overall policies. SD/ERM explained that the proposed definition was only a mission statement capturing the essence of the various components of sustainable development in Hong Kong. He added that CASET was designed exactly for the purpose of facilitating a decision-maker to take into account all factors before deciding on a particular policy or project.  
18. Noting that a Council for Sustainable Development was proposed under the institutional review, a Member asked whether there were any specific terms of reference for the Council and its relationship and division of responsibility with other similar institutions such as the Strategic Planning Committee or ACE. SD/ERM said that the consultants would outline the proposed terms of reference of the proposed Council for Sustainable Development in the next stage of the implementation mechanism report. DS(E)/PELB supplemented that the Administration would review the existing structure of related committees to ensure that the new Council will integrate instead of overlap with the existing institutions.  
19. Since CASET was only meant to be a broad assessment tool, a Member asked whether there would be other dedicated evaluation tools besides CASET. He would also like to know the actions which the Administration would take if a policy or project was evaluated as not sustainable. SM/ERM said that in spite of their proposal to use CASET as the principal sustainability evaluation tool, there was no reason why other dedicated evaluation tool could not be used, particularly in generating data for input into CASET. Regarding the question on the way forward for a project evaluated as not sustainable, SM/ERM said that the project proponents could adjust the elements of the project and re-evaluate its sustainability through CASET again. SD/ERM added that CASET itself would not determine the sustainability of the project and it would be up to decision-makers to decide on whether the project should go ahead based on the assessment made.  
20. With regard to the proposed sustainability indicators on "Environmental Quality", a Member suggested that "the number of good or satisfactory days as ranked by the Air Pollution Index" might be more meaningful to the general public. That Member added that two of the indicators for "Society & Social Infrastructure", namely "the percentage of population living within a short walk of a community hall" and "the number of student members of civic education and community services organisations" were also not too meaningful. The Chairman suggested that "the number of hours of voluntary service undertaken by various age groups" be used instead of the latter indicator. SM/ERM thanked that Member and the Chairman for their suggestions and DD(T)/Plan D undertook to refine the indicators after consolidating the views of all parties during the consultation period.  
21. A Member agreed that the CASET would be a useful tool for the Administration to recognise the all-round impact of a particular project or policy. She added that it would be worthwhile to include the sustainability assessment results of future policy proposals in consultation documents to enable the public and legislators to appreciate the pros and cons of the proposals. It could also enhance the transparency of the Administration's decision-making process. SD/ERM agreed with that Member and supplemented that the CASET was not meant to be an EIA process but to give an early warning to decision-makers to facilitate them in formulating major policies or programmes.  
22. A Member said that the support of the community as a whole was required to achieve sustainable development. In this regard, he suggested devising indicators concerning the awareness and knowledge of the public about the concept of sustainable development. The Chairman agreed that there should be a project to gauge the awareness of the public in sustainable development and their willingness to contribute in environmental projects but the CASET might not be the appropriate tool for that purpose. SPEL concurred with the view and explained that the purpose of the current exercise was to design an instrument to identify all social, economic and environmental parameters which were pertinent to decision-making on major public policies or projects. In the process of consulting the public on these parameters, their awareness on sustainable development would be increased. DD(T)/Plan D said that Plan D would consider launching a public survey, similar to the one conducted during the first stage consultation, to measure the increase in public awareness on the sustainability concept.  
23. In addition to increasing their awareness in sustainable development and providing training on how to use the CASET, a Member said that it was important that decision-makers should be equipped with basic environmental management knowledge. He therefore asked whether the Administration would provide such training to members of the civil service. DD(T)/Plan D replied that the Administration and the Civil Service Training and Development Institute (CSTDI) had been running workshops, demonstrations and courses to familiarise civil servants with the system. The Chairman suggested that the Administration invite representatives of green group to attend these sessions to provide an opportunity for experience sharing. In return, it would also be worthwhile for green group members to learn about the problems which the Administration need to tackle in arriving at a policy decision.  
24. SM/ERM supplemented that CASET had a help screen for each indicator which provided relevant background information on that particular indicator. As such, the user would be able to gain a better understanding of all the guiding principles involved in the decision-making process. SD/ERM remarked that CASET users should not only be equipped with environmental knowledge, but also knowledge on other aspects of the guiding principles such as economic and social factors. The Chairman suggested that a chat room might be developed for experience sharing.  
25. In response to a Member's query, DD(T)/Plan D confirmed that the timeframe for determining sustainability was not confined to the present generation, but also to future generations.  
26. The Chairman suggested that Members submit their further comments on the individual indicators directly to the Administration. In response to the Chairman's request, DD(T)/Plan D undertook to liaise with the Secretariat in arranging a session to explain to Members about the rationale behind the selection of sustainability indicators and to demonstrate how CASET worked. Upon consolidating the views of the public collected during the consultation exercise, DD(T)/Plan D agreed to brief Members again on the recommendations and conclusions of the study possibly in March/April and to discuss the way ahead. Secretariat & Plan D

Plan D
Agenda Item 5 : Proceedings against management of body corporate in violation of Noise Control Ordinance
(ACE Paper 45/99)
 
27. The Chairman welcomed PAS(E)1/PELB, AD(EA)/EPD and SEPO(NP)/EPD to the meeting. AD(EA)/EPD briefed Members on the proposed amendments to the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO).  
28. In response to the Chairman's query, AD(EA)/EPD explained that there were two things the director of a body corporate could take to discharge their duties to ensure full compliance with the relevant provisions of the NCO. Firstly, he/she should ensure that the contractor commence work only with a valid permit. Secondly, he/she could establish an environmental management system and ensure its effective operation. In doing so, the management would have a good case for due diligence. To assist the management level of body corporate to comply with the NCO, the Administration would issue a Code of Practice (CoP) setting out detailed practical guidance on good management practices to prevent a violation of the NCO. AD(EA)/EPD added that the CoP was developed based on the principles adopted by Australia and other countries.  
29. Noting that the major offender of the NCO was the construction industry, a Member said that the CoP should be distributed to the construction industry and related contractors' associations and construction materials associations as soon as possible. He observed that there was a general lack of understanding on the relationship between the construction companies and their sub-contractors who actually carried out the work. AD(EA)/EPD agreed with that Member and affirmed that the Administration was committed to co-operate with the industry in the amendment exercise and in the drafting of the CoP.  
30. A Member noted that the Housing Authority (HA) was going to launch a "Pay-for-Safety" campaign to provide incentives to construction companies with outstanding safety records. He suggested that a similar scheme could be introduced to provide incentives to construction companies with outstanding records of compliance with environmental standards. AD(EA)/EPD agreed that such kind of campaigns would assist in encouraging construction companies to abide by the requirements of the NCO. However, he emphasized that appropriate legal instruments were still necessary to act as a deterrent to repeated offenders who considered penalties only as part of their recurrent expenditures.  
31. A Member noted that the Construction Industry Training Authority was preparing a "green card" system whereby construction workers would have to attend training on occupational health and safety before being allowed to work. He suggested including environmental training as one of the requirements for obtaining the green card.  
32. A Member cautioned that the amendments would likely meet with objections in the Legislative Council due to the adverse responses from the construction industry. The Chairman said that as long as the Administration could provide practical guidance to the industry on their exact duties and responsibilities, the legislators should have no reason to reject the proposed amendments.  
33. The Chairman said that the Council supported the proposed amendments to the NCO.  
Agenda Item 6 : Managing Indoor Air Quality in Hong Kong - Public Consultation
(ACE Paper 46/99)
 
34. The Chairman welcomed PEPO(AP)/EPD, CBSE/ASD, SBSE/EMSD and SOH/LD to the meeting. PEPO(AP)/EPD briefed Members on the proposed indoor air quality (IAQ) management programme.  
35. A Member highlighted that there was enormous amount of evidence which demonstrated the poisonous nature of tobacco smoke and the huge economic burden brought about by the increase in hospital admission cases, extra doctor visits, loss in productivity and premature deaths due to passive tobacco smoking. He was concerned that the Administration seemed to underestimate the magnitude of adverse health effects caused by tobacco smoking. He would like to include a clear policy statement in the document which advocated a total smoke free environment in all buildings.  
36. That Member added that he could not agree with the proposed guideline that the building owners could solve the IAQ problem by simply improving the ventilation system or designating no-smoking area because the pollutants would still be carried to the rest of the ventilated area. He also expressed reservation about the integrity of the consultants undertaking the study since at least four of them had a history of collaboration with the tobacco industry. He objected to the view that the way forward was through education and issuing a voluntary code only, and he suggested that the effective way was to introduce legislation to protect people from passive smoking. Since this is an urgent public health issue, he urged the Administration to come up with a clear policy statement to protect people from passive smoking in offices, public places and all other enclosed areas. He noted that the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) had been invited by EPD to discuss the issue in detail. Upon the enquiry of the Chairman, the majority of Members indicated agreement to enforce a ban on smoking in all work places and public places.  
37. A Member opined that the consultation document was too academic for an office manager to understand, in particular Table 2 & 3 which contained a list of air pollutants. He concurred with the view of the previously spoken that a clear policy statement should instead be set out in the document to advocate a smoke free environment.  
38. PAS(E)1/PELB agreed with the importance of educating the public about the adverse health effects of tobacco smoke and added that EPD would work closely with COSH on this aspect. He clarified that the Guidance Notes were only part of the IAQ management programme and the Administration would launch a more comprehensive publicity programme in the near future, with particular emphasis on individual pollutants like tobacco smoke. He said that in parallel to issuing the consultation booklet and the Guidance Notes, the Administration had also produced a number of easily-understandable pamphlets which spelt out the practical steps which could be taken to improve IAQ at home and in buildings, including one on tobacco smoking. An IAQ information centre with a hotline would also be set up as a help desk for the general public. PEPO(AP)/EPD supplemented that the Administration had always been encouraging a smoke-free environment and they would work with COSH closely to look at how the Guidance Notes could be revised in the area regarding the impact of environmental tobacco smoke.  
39. Atg. DEP agreed that the Guidance Notes could place more emphasis on the sources of pollutants and he undertook that EPD would consider the views of COSH in finalising the Guidance Notes. As regards a Member's concern about the integrity of the consultants, Atg. DEP said that they had become aware of the prior relationship between the consultants and the tobacco industry in the course of conducting the study. He added that steps had already been taken to ensure that the study results were balanced and unbiased.  
40. A Member pointed out that IAQ depended on outdoor air quality (OAQ) and both factors should not be dealt with separately. He added that he had reservations on the effectiveness of the voluntary certification programme because building managers would be reluctant to increase management costs in improving IAQ under the current economic climate. Even if the Administration was committed to making the programme mandatory, he was concerned that there would not be sufficient qualified chemists and instruments available to carry out the IAQ tests for all buildings in Hong Kong.  
41. PAS(E)1/PELB emphasised that the Administration was committed to improving both IAQ and OAQ at the same time. He said that the IAQ programme would be implemented on a voluntary basis initially because the Administration needed to ensure that there were adequate supporting infrastructure and expertise in place. The programme would be reviewed after three years and the Administration would decide whether to implement the programme on a mandatory basis by then. A Member, however, opined that the proposed reviewing period of three years was too long.  
42. Noting Members' serious concern about the harmful effects of indoor tobacco-smoking in offices and public areas, the Chairman urged the Administration to step up action in this area. PAS(E)1/PELB undertook to convey Members' views to the inter-departmental working group, which comprised members from Department of Health (D of Health) and Health and Welfare Bureau (HWB), for their consideration. In response to a Member's query, AD(HP)/D of Health reassured Members that D of Health and HWB would contribute their views from the public health perspective in the working group discussions.  
43. In response to a Member's query, PAS(E)1/PELB said that complaints about IAQ in work place could be made to Labour Department under the existing arrangements. However, with the setting up of the IAQ information centre next year, members of the public could also lodge complaints and enquiries through the centre.  
44. A Member informed Members that the Hong Kong Productivity Council had undertaken a survey on the IAQ of buildings in Hong Kong and it was found that 30% of buildings surveyed could not comply with Level 2 IAQ standards set out in the proposed Guidance Notes. That Member noted that Level 3 standards represented the IAQ required for occupational safety which might not be relevant in the present context. PAS(E)1/PELB undertook to consider that Member's suggestion.  
45. Noting that many buildings did not use a centralised air conditioning system, a Member asked how the concerned building management companies could control the IAQ of tenants using individual air conditioning systems under the proposed IAQ programme. PEPO(AP)/EPD replied that the proposed IAQ programme was targeted at buildings with a centralised air conditioning system. However, he added that premises with individual air-conditioning system could maintain their IAQ by simply cleaning the filters regularly. PAS(E)1/PELB supplemented that the Guidance Notes encouraged constant dialogue between the building management and tenants to maintain a good IAQ management practice. In response to that Member's enquiry on the proportion of commercial buildings with individual air conditioning systems, another Member estimated that the number was about 20%.  
46. A Member noted that other countries had been reviewing the use of building materials containing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since chemical-based VOCs from building materials were different in nature from natural-based VOCs, he suggested that the Administration should reflect this point in the definition of total VOC parameter in the Guidance Notes. PEPO(AP)/EPD clarified that they had already specified a list of carcinogenic VOCs in Table 3.3 of the Guidance Notes. He said that using total VOCs as the parameter would obviate the need for property managers to measure the level of each VOC which could be costly. If building managers measured a high value of total VOCs in their premises, they could then carry out more surveying work in identifying the sources of VOCs and remedy the situation as appropriate.  
47. Noting that there were quite a number of professionals who would be qualified as IAQ certification personnel, a Member asked whether there would be any system in place to control the quality of these qualified personnel and whether a board of professionals would be set up. PEPO(AP)/EPD said that the Guidance Notes already suggested companies to carefully consider the relevant qualifications, experience and reputation etc. of the personnel in the recruitment process. PAS(E)1/PELB said that they would further discuss with the concerned professional bodies on how the quality of personnel could be ensured. He said that during the implementation of the voluntary certification programme, the intention is to invite some private building management to participate in the programme and to submit the survey results of their buildings to the Administration for quality evaluation.  
48. The Chairman thanked the presentation team and said that he looked forward to the successful improvement on IAQ after implementation of the proposed management programme.  
Agenda Item 7 : Amendments to the Trade Effluent Surcharge Scheme
(ACE Paper 47/99)
 
49. The Chairman welcomed SE(SS)/DSD and SC(SS)/DSD to the meeting and invited PAS(E)3/PELB to brief Members on the proposed amendments.  
50. A Member welcomed the amendments to the TES scheme proposed by the Administration. He asked whether the analysis of trade effluent could be done by accredited laboratories in future. SE(SS)/DSD explained that it would be more cost-effective to deploy DSD staff to collect samples because DSD staff would in any case be required to monitor the process if the collection of samples were carried out by accredited laboratories. Regarding the testing of samples, SE(SS)/DSD explained that equal proportion of samples would be given to both DSD and the consumer, who could appoint accredited laboratories to carry out further analysis. He added that DSD would consider entrusting accredited laboratories to carry out some of the testing work if the manpower of DSD could not cope with the demand for testing work.  
51. Noting that "grab sampling" involved collecting a series of composite samples within a short period of time, a Member said that there would be chances that the samples collected did not represent the average strength of wasterwater discharged by the consumers. SC(SS)/DSD said that a representative of the consumer would be allowed to witness the sample-collection process and to raise objection to using such a sample for analysis if he had a justifiable reason. Moreover, the DSD would provide a portion of the sample collected to the consumers so that they could request accredited laboratories for further testing to compare with the testing results from DSD. If necessary, DSD would consider collecting additional samples to improve the statistical performance of the overall testing sampling.  
52. A Member was concerned that the proposed 3-year validity period of the reassessment was too long such that the discharge pattern of the dischargers could vary significantly during the period. SC(SS)/DSD said that DSD would be empowered to initiate a reassessment of trade effluent during the 3-year validity period under the proposed amendments. SE(SS)/DSD added that the consumer would also be allowed to initiate a reassessment before the expiry of the validity period if he believed that his trade effluent was less polluting than had been previously assessed.  
53. In response to a Member's query about the adequacy of manpower in DSD, SE(SS)/DSD said that he expected the existing resources deployed to monitor the testing of samples should be sufficient to cope with future demand for collection and testing of samples, given that consumers would normally be tested once every 3 years instead of 1 year. He added that DSD would keep in view the need for increasing manpower resources or possible out-sourcing of work in due course.  
54. In response to a Member's query, PAS(E)3/PELB said that with the proposed changes, the cost of application for re-assessment would be reduced to $13,000 - $23,000 from the existing $20,000 - $40,000. If the lengthening of the validity period to three years was also taken into account, the total costs for reassessment could be reduced by up to 80%.  
55. Regarding a Member's enquiry on the number of grab samples required, SC(SS)/DSD said that the frequency of collection of samples would depend on the size of the establishment being assessed. AS(E)4/PELB supplemented that the details would be set out in the Technical Memorandum which would be submitted to LegCo for scrutiny at a later stage.  
56. The Chairman said that the Council endorsed the proposed amendments in principle.  
Agenda Item 9 : Any Other Business  
Tentative Schedule of Work for ACE in 1999  
57. Members noted the tentative schedule of work for ACE. The Chairman supplemented that he had invited the Director of Water Supplies to brief Members at the December meeting on the Administration's response to the Director of Audit's report on purchase of Dongjiang water.  
Update on EIA Study of Disney Project  
58. The Chairman said that there had been various reports in the newspaper regarding the EIA of the Disney Theme Park, and he would like to take this opportunity to invite relevant parties of the Administration to update the progress of the concerned EIA study. The Chairman welcomed AD(EA)/EPD and AD(SD)/CED to the meeting.  
59. DS(E)/PELB briefed Members that there had been a series of EIA studies on the development of North-Lantau over the past few years, and three of them had actually been considered and endorsed by this Council during 1994 to 1995. Since then, a series of further ecological surveys had been carried out, e.g. fisheries survey and the survey on White Dolphins. In early 1998, a new EIA study commenced due to the change of land use in North-Lantau while another EIA study solely on the Disney Theme Park was also being undertaken. He reaffirmed the Administration's commitment that no works on the Theme Park could commence until EIA studies had been completed; reports made public as required under EIA Ordinance; considered by both the EIA Sub-committee and this Council; and, an environmental permit issued by the Director of Environmental Protection.  
60. A Member was concerned that the on-going EIAs would not cover the impact assessment on the ecology in four seasons. AD(EA)/EPD and AD(SD)/CED highlighted that comprehensive ecological surveys for the areas affected by the Theme Park had either been done or were being conducted.  
61. In response to a Member's query, AD(EA)/EPD said that the on-going EIA study for North-Lantau would cover cumulative impacts of all existing and planned projects in the area. He said that the concerned study brief was issued in February 1998 and had already been deposited in the public registrar for public inspection in accordance with the requirements of the EIA Ordinance. The study had been going on for about one and a half year and a four-season terrestrial survey had already been completed in July this year. In the light of public concern about the impact of the Disney Theme Park, another EIA was being undertaken on the Theme Park itself.  
62. Noting that the Administration had strong determination to proceed with the Theme Park project, a Member was concerned that Members would be under great political pressure to endorse the two EIA study reports. DS(E)/PELB emphasized that there was a clear clause in the agreement with Disney that the project would not continue if the EIA study reports were not accepted. AD(EA)/EPD reaffirmed the Administration's commitment that no works on the Theme Park would commence until both EIA studies had been completed and an environmental permit under EIA Ordinance had been issued.  
63. A Member commented that a stand alone EIA should be conducted on the impact of the Disney Theme Park. AD(EA)/EPD emphasised that in addition to the on-going EIA study on the development of North Lantau, another EIA was already being undertaken on the Theme Park itself. The Chairman commented that it was reasonable for project proponents to use the results and findings from other reports as a reference in preparing a particular EIA report.  
64. A Member was concerned that the cumulative environmental impacts on South-Lantau would not be taken into account in the on-going EIA studies related to the Theme Park. Another Member said that other future projects in the proximity would need to take into account the findings of the Theme Park EIA reports when assessing the cumulative environmental impact on the area.  
65. The Chairman said that the Administration's assurance was well taken and he looked forward to receiving the EIA study reports on North-Lantau and the Disney Theme Park respectively.  
Agenda Item 8 : Public Consultation on the Urban Renewal Authority Bill
(ACE Paper 49/99)
 
66. The Chairman welcomed DS(URB)/PELB, PAS(UR)/PELB, Atg. AD(UR)/Plan D and AS(UR)/PELB to the meeting. DS(URB)/PELB briefed Members on the proposed new approach to urban renewal. The Chairman commented that the Chairman and Chief Executive of the URA should not be the same person.  
67. A Member asked whether the public would be involved in the formulation of urban renewal proposals. DS(URB)/PELB said that there were several channels for the public to participate in the formulation of the urban renewal strategy and programme. Firstly, members of the public would be invited to provide comments in the regular review exercise of the Urban Renewal Strategy Study. Secondly, there would be a public objection period after the future Urban Renewal Authority (URA) had gazetted a proposed re-development project. The URA would take into account all the views of the public and a report would be submitted to SPEL, who would decide whether the project should be approved. If the project involved amendments to the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP), it would be gazetted under the Town Planning Ordinance and public comments could be directed to the Town Planning Board (TPB), who was the authority for approving OZP amendments. In addition to the above, DS(URB)/PELB added that a team of social workers was proposed to be set up in each urban renewal target area in order to provide assistance to the tenants affected by re-development projects. As such, the public should have ample opportunities to participate in the formulation and the implementation of urban renewal programmes.  
[Notes : The Chairman had other commitments and left the meeting at this juncture. Prof. Lam Kin-che took over the Chair.]  
68. In response to a Member's query, DS(URB)/PELB explained that sustainable development included developing new towns in a sustainable manner which was part of the strategy covered by the SUSDEV 21 study, and regenerating old urban areas which was proposed under the URA Bill. DS(URB)/PELB said that they would also consider environmentally-sustainable factors in the latter task. DS(E)/PELB supplemented that they had furnished the Buildings Department with comments on environmental-friendly building designs, and the revised standards would apply to new buildings in both urban and new town areas, DS(E)/PELB also noted that Transport Department was working on the idea of developing pedestrianisation as a basic element of environmental-friendly new towns and urban renewal projects.  
69. A Member asked whether this Council would be consulted on environmental-friendly building designs in future urban renewal proposals. DS(URB)/PELB undertook that this Council would be consulted on new proposals in the future.  
70. A Member expressed concern about possible industrial-residential land interface problem resulting from the use of under-utilised industrial land. Atg. AD(UR)/Plan D said that a comprehensive redevelopment of the under-utilized industrial areas would be undertaken to avoid potential interface problem. In response to that Member's concern about overloading TPB with urban renewal proposals, Atg. AD(UR)/Plan D said that the Board had already been dealing with re-development projects proposed by the Land Development Corporation all these years.  
71. The Chairman said that the Council was generally in support of the Bill and hoped that the urban renewal process could be speeded up and community participation be encouraged.  
Agenda Item 10 : Date of Next Meeting  
72. The date of next meeting was scheduled for 20 December 1999.  
   
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
December 1999
 


 

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