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Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 71st Meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 21 February 2000 at 2:30 p.m.

Present:
Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)
Mr. CHAN Kwok-wai, JP
Mr. Barrie COOK
Mr. Paul C. H. FAN
Professor Peter HILLS
Professor LAM Kin-che
Mr. Edwin LAU
Mr. Joseph LAU Man-wai, JP
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP
Mr. Otto L. T. POON
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH
Ms Iris TAM
Miss Alex YAU
Mr. Plato YIP
Mrs. Philomena LEUNG (Secretary)


Absent with Apologies:
Mr. Clement CHEN
Miss Ann CHIANG
Professor Anthony HEDLEY, JP
Dr. HO Kin-chung
The Hon. Dr. LEONG Che-hung
Mr. TAN Teng Huat


In Attendance:

 

Mrs. Lily YAM Secretary for the Environment and Food (SEF)
Mr. Kim SALKELD Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (Environment) (DS(E), PELB)
Mr. Mike STOKOE Deputy Director, Environmental Protection Department (DD/EPD)
Mr. Richard YIP Deputy Director, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Mr. Raymond CHIU Assistant Director (Technical Services), Planning Department (AD(TS)/Plan D)
Ms. Betty CHAN Senior Information Officer, EPD
Mr. Maurice LOO Assistant Secretary (B)3A, EFB
Miss Cora SO Executive Officer (B), EFB
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 3:
 
Mr. James BLAKE Senior Director for Capital Projects, KCRC (SD(CP)/KCRC)
Mr. Ian THOMS Director, West Rail, KCRC (D(WR)/KCRC)
Mr. Chris CALTON West Rail Construction Engineering Manager, KCRC (CEM(WR)/KCRC)
Mr. Keith FIELDER West Rail Chief Architect, KCRC (CA(WR)/KCRC)
 
In Attendance for Agenda Item 4:
 
Mr. John BINKS Chief Engineer/Islands, Territory Development Department (CE(Islands)/TDD)
Mr. C W LAM Senior Engineer, TDD (SE(Islands)/TDD)
Mr. Simon WONG Engineer, TDD
Ms. Phyllis C M LI District Planning Officer/Sai Kung & Islands, Plan D (DPO(SKIs)/Plan D)
Mr. Cary P H HO Senior Nature Conservation Officer, AFCD (SNCO/AFCD)
Mr. David LAM Assistant Secretary (Planning)1, Planning and Lands Bureau (AS(P)1/PLB)
Mr. YEUNG Kin-ming            Director, Mott Connell Ltd.
Mr. David WONG Engineer, Mott Connell Ltd.
Mr. Julio FIGUEIRAS Director, Shankland Cox (Asia) Ltd. (D/Shankland)
Dr. Tim CRAMP Director, Maunsell Environmental Management Consultants Ltd. (D/Maunsell)
Ms. Queenie NG Senior Environmental Consultant, Maunsell Environmental Management Consultants Ltd.

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  Action
The Chairman welcomed Mr. Mike Stokoe, Mr. Richard Yip and Mr. Raymond Chiu who were standing in for Mr. Rob Law, Mr. S P Lau and Mr. Bosco Fung respectively.  
    
Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 70th Meeting held on 31 January 2000  
2. The minutes were confirmed without amendments.  
    
Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising  
Para. 4 : Distribution of minutes via e-mail  
3. The Chairman asked Members whether they had encountered any difficulties in receiving minutes of meeting via e-mail. Members indicated their support in continuing the practice.  
Para. 24 : Briefing on new town development plan in Tai Ho Valley  
4. Members noted that TDD and Plan D would present the Recommended Outline Development Plan of the Comprehensive Feasibility Study on the Remaining Development in Tung Chung and Tai Ho under agenda item 4.  
Commission on Strategic Development - "Bringing the Vision to Life"  
5. The Chairman said that the Commission on Strategic Development had recently published an overview of its work through a report entitled "Bringing the Vision to Life". He said that the section on improving the quality of life and sustainable development was of interest to this Council, and it would be useful if EFB and PLB could offer their comments on the recommendations set out in the report. EFB/PLB
Agenda Item 3 : West Rail Public Transport Interchanges
(ACE Paper 5/2000)
 
6. The Chairman welcomed SD(CP)/KCRC, D(WR)/KCRC, CEM(WR)/KCRC and CA(WR)/KCRC to the meeting. He invited SD(CP)/KCRC to brief Members on the design of the Public Transport Interchanges (PTIs).  
7. The Chairman asked whether there was a mechanism for reviewing and refining the management and operation of PTIs to take into account the latest figures on pedestrian flow. SD(CP)/KCRC said that KCRC was only responsible for planning, designing and building of PTIs whereas the management of PTIs would rest with the Government. The Chairman asked the Secretariat to convey the question to the Transport Bureau. Secretariat
8. SEF noted the possible problem of fragmentation of management responsibilities of existing PTIs amongst various Government departments. She asked whether KCRC would take up the management of the PTIs serving its railway stations. SD(CP)/KCRC said that the Corporation definitely had an interest in ensuring that its PTIs were being managed in a satisfactory manner. However, the activities of the Corporation were restricted under the KCRC Ordinance and it might not be possible for KCRC to take up the management of the PTIs. CEM(WR)/KCRC added that the design consultants were conscious of the environmental conditions in the PTIs, such as noise level and air quality, during the design stage. The finalised designs had been tested under the worst case scenario in terms of environmental impact and were shown to be acceptable.  
9. Noting that none of the members in the Station and Transportation Integration Committee had an environmental background, A Member questioned whether KCRC was able to take into account the environmental aspects of the PTI designs. CEM(WR)/KCRC said that the design consultants had consulted EPD on the detailed design of the PTIs and their inputs and comments had been incorporated in the finalised design.  
10. Given the close proximity of the railway to the development above the podium, a Member was concerned about the measures which would be taken to alleviate the environmental impacts to the tenants. CEM(WR)/KCRC explained that some of the major environmental impacts on the development above the podium would be airborne and structure-borne noise and vibration. To meet the environmental guidelines and standards set out by EPD, appropriate measures would be taken at source to mitigate the transmission of noise and vibration through air and physical structure respectively.  
11. Although the PTIs were not designated projects under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, the Chairman said that the Council would like to see that the PTIs achieve certain environmental standards. DD/EPD said that EPD had provided advice on the design of PTIs through the issuing of a professional practice note on air quality standards within PTIs.  
12. SEF asked the Secretary to ascertain from Transport Department whether they had any plans for contracting out management of these PTIs. Secretariat
13. A Member noticed that there was a lack of loading/unloading space for estate coaches at the East Rail PTIs. She asked whether the designs of the West Rail PTIs had taken into account this need. She was also interested to know whether there would be park and ride facilities at West Rail Stations to encourage people to take public transport instead of driving.  
14. SD(CP)/KCRC said that the new PTI design would provide as much space as possible for all forms of transport and he was confident that the provision of loading/unloading spaces at the new PTIs would improve compared to those for East Rail. He added that KCRC, in conjunction with TD and other Government departments, had considered the need to incorporate park and ride facilities into the PTI designs. However, given the experience gained from the park and ride facilities in Sheung Shui, such proposal would not be pursued in the initial stage. Nevertheless, he noted that parking facilities would be made available within the developments on the podium in the future and it would be possible to convert some of the parking spaces into park and ride facilities.  
15. A Member asked whether the KCRC had made it a priority to use energy-saving equipment and green building materials for the PTI construction. SD(CP)KCRC said that the planning and design process of the West Rail had focussed on providing a sustainable transportation system, and every aspects of the environment, such as noise impact, visual intrusion and energy efficiency, had been taken into account. During the construction phases of all West Rail projects, the Corporation would also maximise the reuse of building materials and minimise the use of energy.  
16. Noting that there was a pagoda in Tin Shui Wai which was regarded as one of the historic monuments in Hong Kong, a Member asked whether the Tin Shui Wai Station had been designed to be compatible with the pagoda. CA(WR)/KCRC said that the design of the Tin Shui Wai Station would not be modelled on the 15th/16th Century Chinese design of the pagoda. However, that there would be a mini-exhibition setting out the historic background of the pagoda in the concourse, and special signs will also be put up to direct visitors to the way to the pagoda. D(WR)/KCRC added that access ramps would be constructed to the station entrances on two sides of the Pagoda. The area immediately surrounding the Pagoda was badly in need of a clean-up, and would benefit from some landscape treatment.  
17. A Member commended the installation of mechanical ventilation system in the PTIs to improve the air quality inside the PTIs. He further suggested the installation of air quality monitoring instruments in the PTIs so that necessary adjustments could be made to ensure that environmental standards would be met, as well as to save energy by optimising the operation of the ventilation system. SD(CP)/KCRC said that they would consider the suggestion.  
18. A Member suggested using a vacuum system, similar to the ones adopted in the UK/Europe, to channel all exhaust fuel emissions generated in the PTI to a central plant for filtering and further clean up. CEM(WR)KCRC said that KCRC would review this type of system and, if appropriate, consider incorporating it in the West Rail proposals.  
19. DD/EPD supplemented that the professional advice note he mentioned earlier did make reference to the option of improving air quality by exhausting air pollutants from the PTIs, as well as the alternative of providing fresh air to the PTIs. However, he pointed out that the proponent would also need to take into account cost considerations and the reasonable life of buildings. He wished to see a suitable system being adopted at the design stage because it would be difficult to retrofit these facilities once the PTIs were in operation.  
20. Noting that the podiums and developments would only be built after the PTIs were constructed and in use, a Member asked how the environmental impact arising from the construction of the podiums and developments could be minimised. SD(CP)/KCRC said that the tendering contracts for the construction of the podiums and the developments would specify the interim arrangements which would be required to build the structures without hindering the operation of the PTIs. In response to a Member's suggestion, SD(CP)KCRC said that if programme co-ordination factors allowed, they would consider building the podium together with the PTIs to minimize the environmental impact on the PTIs.  
21. A Member asked whether the PTIs were of standard design or whether they would be designed in accordance with local needs. SD(CP)KCRC said that each PTI would be tailor-made to suit individual requirements of each station.  
22. The Chairman indicated his interests in examining the detailed design of PTIs. SD(CP)KCRC offered to present the plans to interested Members at a convenient time.  
23. In response to DS(B)/EFB's remarks, SD(CP)/KCRC said that he was not aware of any reason why the designs of the PTIs would preempt possible provision of trolley bus service in the future.  
24. The Chairman thanked SD(CP)/KCRC et. al. for the presentation and hoped that the new design of the PTIs would encourage more people to travel in an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation.  
    
Agenda Item 4 : Remaining Development in Tung Chung and Tai Ho Comprehensive Feasibility Study (CFS) Recommended Outline Development Plan
(ACE Paper 6/2000)
 
25. The Chairman welcomed CE(Islands)/TDD et. al. to the meeting. A 10-minute video was played to introduce to Members the background of the Study, followed by a briefing of the study findings by D/Maunsell.  
26. In response to the Chairman's query about the development of Tung Chung Valley, D/Shankland explained that they had adopted the recommendation of the North Lantau Development Study (NLDS) that low-density and low-height development, with the provision of breezeways, should be proposed for Tung Chung Valley. In devising the Recommended Outline Development Plan (RODP), DPO(SKIs)/Plan D supplemented that they had carefully struck a balance between the need to provide additional population capacity and the conservation of natural habitats as well as village character.  
27. The Chairman asked whether residents in the proposed developments in Tung Chung would be subject to air quality problem in the future. DPO(SKIs)/Plan D replied that air circulation in the area would be improved by building height control and the provision of breezeways. D/Maunsell supplemented that it was concluded under a separate EIA study that there was no predicted problem for compliance with the air quality objectives. He pointed out that the poor air quality in the Tung Chung area was mainly due to pollutants from Guangdong Province, and he understood that a study was being undertaken jointly by the Mainland and the Hong Kong authorities to tackle the problem. DD/EPD echoed D/Maunsell's view that the air quality problem in Tung Chung was not due to local sources. He confirmed that the joint study aimed at devising a long-term regional air quality improvement plan to be implemented by both sides.  
28. In response to a Member's query, CE(Islands)/TDD confirmed that the dotted line on the RODP referred to the proposed road link between Mui Wo and Tai Ho. He added that the proposed road was not included in the concerned study and its feasibility was being examined by Highways Department (HyD) in a separate study. Another Member asked whether the proposed road would require reclamation of parts of Tai Ho Bay. SNCO/AFCD clarified that the present proposal of the Lantau North-South Link did not require reclamation in Tai Ho Bay.  
29. A Member urged TDD to pay particular attention to air quality problems in the planning of the new town. He recalled that there was an EIA on the Lantau North South Development in 1992, and asked whether there were major differences between the recommended developments in 1992 and the present plan. CE(Isalnds)/TDD said that the current RODP had deleted industrial development at Siu Ho Wan and residential zones from Tai Ho South. D/Shankland supplemented that the projected population of the area had increased from 260,000 to 320,000. Some of the additional population would be accommodated by rezoning some industrial land in Siu Ho Wan and intensifying the development in Tung Chung east. Compared with the 1992 proposal, the RODP also proposed reducing the extent of the reclamation in Tung Chung and reducing the number of crossings to the Airport from three to two.  
30. Since some of the industrial land would be rezoned for residential purposes in the RODP, a Member asked whether the residential developments would be subject to unacceptable environmental impacts such as noise impacts. D/Shankland explained that the industrial land being rezoned was made available by the redevelopment of the MTRC depot. D/Maunsell commented that the potential noise problem could be overcome if the Depot was covered.  
31. A Member was also concerned about the cumulative environmental impact to the area because there seemed to be a number of projects undertaken by different departments in the area. D/Maunsell assured Members that they had already taken into account the traffic flow of the proposed Lantau North-South Link in a comprehensive environmental impact assessment and it was concluded that environmental standards could be met.  
32. In response to a Member's query about the target population capacity of the whole Lantau, DPO(SKIs)/Plan D said that North Lantau had changed from a port-oriented development to tourism development during the last two years, while some industrial areas had been rezoned as residential ones. Taking into account all these factors, the target population capacity of the whole Lantau Island would be about 400,000.  
33. In response to a Member's suggestion to shift the high density residential zones in the north of Tai Ho Valley further to the east, D/Shankland explained that this would require more land reclamation and encroach upon areas with high aircraft noise exposure and airport height restrictions. To achieve maximum inter-visibility between the coastline and the Valley, D/Shankland said that a 400 meter gap between Tai Ho and Tung Chung would be provided as a landscape window. DPO(SKIs)/Plan D added that shifting the population to the northeast would also be constrained by the consultation zone of the Siu Ho Wan Water Treatment Works.  
34. In response to a Member's concerns about the visual impact of the proposed development, CE(Islands)/TDD reiterated that a landscape window would be provided between Tung Chung and Tai Ho. Regarding that Member's query on the Siu Ho Wan Sewage Treatment Works, D/Maunsell said that Chemically Enhanced Primary Treatment plus disinfection would be adopted in the Sewage Treatment Works, which would be constructed in phase with the Disney Theme Park project. Regarding that Member's query on hotel development in the area, D/Shankland said that, as far as he knew, a hotel would be built in the area. As regards that Member's question on the future management of the Tai Ho Valley, CE(Islands)/TDD replied that the present plan was to control development through zoning.  
35. In response to the Chairman's query, CE(Islands)/TDD said that a regional hospital would be completed in 2006 on the Tai Ho reclamation, which in turn would be scheduled for completion by 2003.  
36. The Chairman noted that there had also been a lot of objections to restricting the development of Tai Ho Valley by local villagers. CE(Islands)/TDD said that Government shared the view that development of Tai Ho Valley should be restricted except for meeting the 10-year forecast demand for small houses for villagers, as well as for providing emergency vehicular access and sewage connections to the villages. He agreed that development beyond that would impinge on the SSSI zone and the integrity of the Tai Ho Valley. AS(P)1/PLB supplemented that local villagers strongly objected to preserving the SSSI zone because it would constrain the village development there. On various occasions, the villagers had indicated to Planning and Lands Bureau that they would like to see more land being made available for small-scale development, e.g. restaurants.  
37. In response to a Member's query, D/Shankland said that residents in the new town could travel to country parks on the southern side of Lantau via two pedestrian links, one over the highway and the other from the reclamation area in Tai Ho.  
37. In response to a Member's query, D/Shankland said that residents in the new town could travel to country parks on the southern side of Lantau via two pedestrian links, one over the highway and the other from the reclamation area in Tai Ho Valley.  
38. A Member asked about the basis for evaluating the target population of 320,000 by 2011. DPO(SKIs)/Plan D said that the target population figures were estimated under the Territory Development Strategy Review, which was completed in 1998. The Study had used strategic transport and land use modelling techniques in estimating the population quantum in different sub-regions.  
39. A Member understood that airport noise was one of the planning constraints and she asked whether the NEF25 contour was based on an actual measurement or a forecast. She also wished the Administration to confirm whether the Tung Chung River would be preserved.  
40. Regarding the question on airport noise, CE(Islands)/TDD said that the consultants would need to seek further clarification and the information would be provided after the meeting. He also confirmed that the upper reaches of Tung Chung River would be left intact. An artificial embankment would be put on the eastern side of the lower reaches of the river.  
41. The Chairman thanked the presentation team for the briefing and suggested that the team seek the EIA Subcommittee Chairman's advice before submitting the EIA Report to the Council for consideration.  
    
Agenda Item 5 : Any Other Business  
Plastic stopper for red wine bottle  
42. The Chairman noted that plastic stoppers, instead of the traditional cork ones, were now being used for some red wine bottles and he was concerned whether their disposal would have adverse effect on the environment. He requested EPD to advise Members on the issue at the next meeting.  
Comprehensive list of projects/studies in Lantau  
43. A Member noted that Members had difficulty in considering EIA reports on projects in Lantau because of the absence of an overview of all developments in Lantau. He said that it would be useful if the Administration could compile a comprehensive list of all projects/studies related to Lantau which were being undertaken or would be undertaken in the near future.  
44. The Chairman concurred with the view and asked AD(TS)/Plan D whether Plan D was in a position to compile the list. AD(TS)/Plan D said that the Development Strategy Review which Plan D had submitted to this Council a few months ago would serve the purpose. However, he understood Members' uneasiness over developments in Lantau and he undertook to bring back the request to Plan D and provide the list to Members at the next meeting.  
45. A Member noted that the proposed permanent site for aviation fuel receiving facility had not been included in any of the proposals considered so far. The Chairman said that it was about time that the Airport Authority updated Members on the progress of identifying the site.  
46. A Member added that Members had lost the sense of the cumulative impact and inter-relationship of different projects for Lantau. He requested Plan D to provide brief descriptions of the projects/studies on the list, which should ideally be made available before the Council was scheduled to discuss the Disney EIA in April. Another Member said that it would also be useful if Plan D could furnish Members with the target population figures to be accommodated on Lantau Island. A third Member also suggested that figures on traffic forecast should be included in the list to facilitate Members in assessing the justifications of specific projects.  
Tentative Schedule of work for ACE in 2000  
47. Members noted the tentative schedule of work for ACE in 2000.  
Lantau Cable Car Project  
48. In response to a Member's query, DD/EPD said that the Lantau Cable Car project should be a designated project under the EIA Ordinance. Another Member was concerned that the routing of the cable car would be finalised by the time the EIA report was submitted to the Council for consideration. DD/EPD encouraged Members to send in their comments on the routing of the cable car to EPD before the EIA report was finalised since project proponents had an obligation to take into account the views of the public before finalising the EIA report.  
Tax concession for hybrid vehicles  
49. A Member asked whether the Administration would consider offering tax concessions to hybrid vehicles. The Chairman commented that the trade would need to demonstrate that the use of hybrid vehicles would substantially improve environmental conditions in order to win the support of the Council and the Administration. That Member said that the motor trade would come up with a proposal for Members' consideration.  
Handling of chemical/hazardous goods during transfer  
50. A Member referred to the styrene spillage accident which took place on 6 February 2000 in Yuen Long Industrial Estate. He recalled that the Administration had undertaken to review the guidelines on handling of chemical/hazardous goods following the cyanide spillage accident two years ago. He would like the Administration to brief Members on the outcome of the review. He also expressed disappointment at the poor response of Government departments in rectifying the problem and EPD's reluctance in disclosing information about the incident to Friends of the Earth.  
51. DD/EPD said that a number of EPD staff had worked overnight during the night of the incident. He also emphasised that EPD had been perfectly open to the media and other parties regarding their queries on the accident. He added that the handling of styrene was covered by the Dangerous Goods Ordinance, which was administered by the Fire Services Department (FSD).  
52. The Chairman asked the Secretariat to invite FSD for a briefing on the account of the accident as well as the progress of the review on the guidelines on handling of chemical/hazardous substances. Secretariat
    
Agenda Item 6 : Date of Next Meeting  
53. The next meeting date was scheduled for 27 March 2000.  
Environment and Food Bureau
March 2000
 


 

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