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Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 90th Meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 27 November 2001 at 2:30 p.m.

Present:

Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)  
Mr. Daniel M. C. CHENG  
Prof. Peter HILLS  
Mr. Edward S. T. HO, SBS, JP  
Mr. KWOK Kwok-chuen, BBS  
Prof. LAM Kin-che (EIA Subcommittee Chairman)  
Prof. Dennis S. C. LAM  
Mr. Edwin C. K. LAU  
Mr. Peter Y. C. LEE, SBSt.J  
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming  
Dr. NG Cho-nam  
Mrs. Mei NG  
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP  
Mr. Otto L. T. POON  
Ms Iris TAM  
Prof. WONG Yuk-shan, JP  
Ms. Jessie WONG (Secretary)  




Absent with Apologies:
Mr. Barrie COOK
Prof. Anthony HEDLEY, BBS, JP
Dr. HO Kin-chung
Dr. LEONG Che-hung, GBS, JP
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH
Miss Alex YAU
Mr. LOH Ah Tuan



 

In Attendance:

Mrs. Lily YAM Secretary for the Environment and Food (SEF)
Mr. Thomas CHOW Deputy Secretary (C), Environment and Food Bureau (EFB) (DS(C)/EFB)
Mr. Donald TONG Deputy Secretary (B), EFB (DS(B)/EFB)
Mr. Rob LAW, JP Director of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Mr. LEE Tak-keung Assistant Director (Technical Services), Planning Department (PlanD)
Mr. C C LAY Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)
Mrs. Pauline LING Chief Information Officer, EFB
Ms. Polly LEUNG Principal Information Officer, Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
Miss Petula POON Chief Executive Officer (C), EFB
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (C), EFB



In Attendance for Agenda Item 4

Mr. Howard CHAN Principal Assistant Secretary (C)1, EFB (PAS(C)1/EFB)
Mr. Daniel AU Assistant Commissioner, Transport Department (TD) (AC/TD)
Mr. C W TSE Assistant Director (Air), EPD (AD(Air)/EPD)



In Attendance for Agenda Item 5

Miss Erica WONG Senior Town Planner (SR), PlanD (STP(SR)/PlanD)
Mr. Talis WONG Senior Engineer (HKI&I), Territory Development Department (TDD) (SE(HKI&I)/TDD)



In Attendance for Agenda Item 6

Mrs. June LI Assistant Director (Metro), PlanD (AD(Metro)/PlanD)
Mr. W K HUI Chief Town Planner, PlanD (CTP/PlanD)

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Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 89th Meeting held on 30 October 2001

Members confirmed the minutes without amendments.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Para. 5: Meeting with LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs

2. Members noted that the meeting would be held on 3 December 2001 at 4:30pm. Five Members including the Chairman would join the meeting.

(Post - meeting note : The Chairman, Prof. Lam Kin-che, Messrs Otto Poon, Lin Chaan-ming, Daniel Cheng, Miss Alex Yau and the Secretary attended the meeting.)

Para. 8 : Reply to LegCo about tram noise

3. Members noted that a copy of the written reply that the Administration had given to the Legislative Council was sent to them on 21 November 2001.

Agenda Item 3 : Report of the 63rd and 64th EIA Subcommittee Meetings
(ACE Paper 44/2001)

4. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman reported the views of the Subcommittee on items discussed at the last two meetings.

5. The Chairman cautioned about the need to keep record of the informal dialogues between the Subcommittee and project proponents, lest the only document that could be referred to in the future if necessary would be the version kept by the other party. He said that more and more project proponents were approaching individual Members for briefing and discussion. He said that the Members concerned should notify the Secretariat of such contacts.

6. DEP said that, based on the experience of the Spur Line Appeal Case, the appellant could present any records as evidence. It might be useful if the Council/Subcommittee kept its own records on informal dialogues with project proponents. A Member shared DEP's view and added that requests for project proponents to provide information should also be included in those records for follow-up actions.

7. SEF suggested that the Subcommittee consider keeping records of such informal dialogues and not circulating to the party concerned. As regards briefings and discussions arranged with individual Members, SEF said that it should be made clear to the party concerned that the views were expressed in their personal capacity only. On that point, a Member asked whether that should include professional advice sought by the parties. The Chairman replied to the negative.

 

8. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman explained that the purpose of not keeping a record was to prevent the other party from quoting the views expressed during the informal dialogues in their own interpretation. However, he had no strong views on that suggestion and would revisit the issue with the Subcommittee and submit a recommendation to the Council.

9. A Member asked whether the Subcommittee had deliberated over the guiding principle for assessing alternative options/alignments of an EIA project as there seemed to be a lack of benchmark in that matter at the moment. In response, the EIA Subcommittee Chairman said that there were no specific guidelines to follow. The spirit of the Judgment of the Spur Line Appeal Case was that alternatives should be considered in a reasonable and practicable context. Another Member supplemented that under the precautionary principle mitigation or compensation measures should only be considered when adverse ecological impacts could not be avoided in a practicable way.

10. The Chairman said that it would be useful to draw up a guidance note on the subject. DEP explained that the EIA Ordinance was almost silent about the assessment of alternatives but the Technical Memorandum did touch on that issue. However, there were no hard and fast rules for such assessment because it involved many factors like engineering feasibility, costs and government policies. He considered that the precautionary principle should be the major direction when considering alternatives. There would be no need for alternatives if the chosen option was shown to be environmentally acceptable after applying the precautionary principle.

11. On the quality of EIA reports, a Member urged the Council to request EPD to reflect on Members' concern set out in para. 18 of the paper regarding the tendering mechanism as well as the lump sum term contracts. She also enquired about actions taken on poor performers in EIA studies.

12. In response, DEP explained that the issue in question was a complicated one without easy solutions. EPD had no authority over the employment of consultants for private projects. For government projects, greater weightings had always been given to technical than financial considerations. The lump sum term contract remained the most efficient system because there was really no way to verify whether the hours of work claimed by a consultant were really carried out or not. In addition, it would imply professional incompetence if a consultant was blacklisted which might provoke a series of legal proceedings as the firms usually had strong legal teams to defend them. As environmental consultancies covered many disciplines and usually sub-contractors were involved, it would be difficult to judge a firm on the basis of the performance of their sub-consultancies. DEP said that EPD intended to take up the issue with the HKIAIA to encourage the setting up of a mechanism to monitor the performance of the consultants.

13. SEF confirmed that the setting up of the ecological database would not totally eliminate the need for an ecological survey as part of the EIA process. To ensure the usefulness of the database, AFCD was drawing up a proposal on detailed arrangements for data collection and compilation. She asked the Department to seek the Council's advice on the proposal.

14. SEF noted the Subcommittee's concern over the length of the public consultation period for project profiles. She explained that the Administration was anxious to reduce the time taken for public works projects. Under the circumstances, it would be difficult to extend the consultation period. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman said that the Subcommittee raised that point because it would help smoothen the EIA process if views were expressed at an early stage. He hoped that there could be ways to overcome the constraints on the one hand and enable the Subcommittee to play a more proactive role in the EIA process on the other.

Agenda Item 4 : Light Buses Using Cleaner Fuel
(ACE Paper 47/2001)

15. The Chairman welcomed PAS(C)1/EFB, AC/TD and AD(Air)/EPD to the meeting. DS(C)/EFB briefed Members on the proposed incentive scheme to encourage diesel light buses to switch to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or electricity vehicles.

16. A Member enquired about the cost-effectiveness of the incentive schemes for LPG taxi and LPG public light bus (PLB) in terms of improvement to air quality. He sought clarification on the energy efficiency of PLBs running on diesel and LPG, and the traffic and transport implications brought by increased PLB seating capacity. He also asked about the assumption based on which the proposed incentive scheme was drawn up that the PLB operators would switch to LPG PLBs as long as there was estimated increase in income, even when it was a marginal one.

17. On cost-effectiveness, DS(C)/EFB said that replacement of all the 18,000 diesel taxis with LPG models would cost $0.7 billion in terms of one-off grants. The environmental gains would be 25% reduction in respirable suspended particulate (RSP) and 4% in nitrogen oxide (NOx) from motor vehicles. For LPG PLBs, assuming that 68% of the diesel PLBs and half of the existing 16-seat diesel private light buses were replaced with LPG ones, the cost to Government would be $184 million. The environmental gains would be 3.6% reduction in RSP and 1.4% in NOx emissions from motor vehicles. On fuel consumption rate, a diesel PLB could run 87% more mileage than an LPG PLB with the same volume of fuel. Regarding the assumption mentioned above, DS(C)/EFB said that according to the detailed analysis done by the Transport Department (TD), 68% of the 4,350 PLBs could experience a net income increase after switching to LPG vehicles. However, for some of them the increase in income would be marginal. Therefore, the one-off grant was proposed to encourage them to opt for LPG PLBs.

18. In response to a Member's enquiry on the increase in PLB seating capacity, AC/TD briefly took Members through the transport and traffic implications as set out at the Annex to the ACE paper. SEF added that PLBs were not a particularly efficient means of transport in terms of the road space they took up vis-a-vis the number of passengers they carried. They would block up traffic while waiting for passengers. Furthermore, increasing their seating capacity would not necessarily benefit the 32% PLBs who could experience net income reduction after switching to LPG vehicles as some of the routes concerned might currently have spare capacity.

19. A Member commented that neither the increase in the number of LPG filling stations to 50 by 2004 nor the one-off grant would make the 32% of PLB operators better off in switching to LPG PLBs. The increase of LPG filling stations at strategic locations would be more helpful for the 32% of PLB operators. He also doubted whether the $184 million would be well spent when only 68% of PLB operators would benefit. In addition, he heard that there were concerns over the adequacy of repair and maintenance facilities. He asked whether the Administration would address those problems.

20. In response to that Member's comments, DS(C)/EFB explained that safety was a key factor in considering the locations of LPG filling stations. The Administration was closely studying the routes of the 32% PLBs to see if suitable locations along them could be identified for setting up LPG filling stations. Considering the fact that the average life of the existing PLB fleet was eight years and that about 63% of them would reach 10 years old by the end of 2003, many would need to be replaced then even without the proposed incentive scheme. For those that did not see benefit in switching to LPG vehicles, they could continue to use diesel vehicles. But the Administration intended to propose to the Legislative Council shortly that newly registered diesel light buses would be required to meet Euro III emission standards. Therefore, those choosing to replace their vehicles with diesel models would have to opt for Euro III models. Replacing older diesel light buses with ones that meet the latest emissions standards would help reduce their emissions. Regarding repair and maintenance facilities, DS(C)/EFB clarified that except for work relating to the LPG fuel system, LPG vehicles could be serviced by ordinary repair workshops. There were 25 certified LPG repair and maintenance workshops either in operation or under construction but the demand for their service was still low possibly due to the relatively young age of the LPG vehicles and the general economic downturn. He believed that market forces would jack up supply when demand of repair and maintenance service increased with vehicle age. Nonetheless, the Administration had already earmarked seven pieces of land for provision of LPG vehicles repair/maintenance workshops. One of them had been sold.

21. A Member asked whether there were alternative cleaner fuels like biodiesel which would not require switch of vehicles but could still improve the air quality. On traffic problem caused by PLBs, he commented that the Administration could reduce the number of PLBs while increasing the seating capacity. On the second point, SEF said that reducing the number of vehicles would fuel strong opposition from the trade as PLB licences carried high premia.

22. In response to that Member's enquiries, AD(Air)/EPD explained that the disadvantage of using biodiesel was that it might increase NOx emission. In fact, biodiesel was used in other countries for reasons related to the agricultural industry of those countries, not for environmental purpose. DS(C)/EFB added that the Administration had a clear policy on using cleaner fuels/vehicles whenever it was practicable in the local context and EPD was keeping track of overseas technological developments on alternative fuels.

23. A Member expressed support for the proposal. He commented that apart from the incentive scheme, the Administration could tighten the enforcement on smoky vehicles. Noting that the proposal would only result in 4% reduction in RSP emission and 2% in NOx emission while the targets were 80% and 30% respectively, he asked whether there were other measures to achieve those targets.

24. In response, DS(C)/EFB pointed out that the $1,000 fixed penalty for smoky vehicles was very effective. Apart from the penalty, vehicles spotted were subject to smoke test and the owners would usually have to incur extra cost to fix the vehicles before the smoke test in order to pass it. Regarding other measures, DS(C)/EFB said the Administration planned to retrofit pre-Euro heavy diesel vehicles with diesel oxidation catalysts following a successful particulate trap/catalyst retrofit programme for pre-Euro light diesel vehicles.

25. A Member informed the meeting that in Australia, filling stations provided both diesel and LPG filling services. If that could be arranged in Hong Kong, private vehicle owners could consider using LPG vehicles.

26. In response, SEF explained that the Administration was working hard to increase the number of LPG filling stations. However, the numbers of LPG filling stations and petrol filling stations should be seen in perspective. The existing 180 petrol filling stations served about 500,000 vehicles whereas there would only be a maximum number of 24,000 LPG vehicles (including taxis and PLBs). The main problem was identifying suitable locations which could meet safety standards. Government had to consider the feasibility of securing sufficient supporting facilities such as LPG storage and filling services at suitable locations to support the replacement of other classes of vehicles with LPG models. It also had to be mindful of the financial impact of a significant reduction in revenue if the LPG vehicle programme were further expanded. DS(C)/EFB supplemented that there would be no major environmental gains to replace petrol vehicles with LPG ones as their environmental performances were similar. That was why the Administration was trying to make use of the limited LPG infrastructure to maximize the environmental gains it could achieve.

27. A Member fully supported the proposal. He suggested adding more flexibility in the incentive scheme so as to assist the 32% operators. The scheme might give special consideration to those operators who face severe competition, etc. Another Member agreed with a Member and said that if the incentive scheme could also take into account the residing and/or parking locations of the vehicles, it might benefit more operators.

28. In response, SEF explained that it would be difficult to design an incentive scheme on a case-by-case basis. AC/TD added that whilst green PLBs ran on fixed routes, the remaining 40 odd percent of PLBs were red minibuses which ran on flexible routes. PAS(C)1/EFB supplemented that TD would continue to brief individual PLB route operators on the proposed scheme and TD's assessment so that the latter could make an informed decisions on whether to replace their diesel PLBs with LPG or electric ones.

29. A Member said that PLBs and buses were complementary in terms of providing feeder service for railway stations. Recently, there was a big increase in the number of buses and many of them were running on the road with only a few passengers on board. If the number of buses could be reduced, the utilization of PLBs should be increased. The Chairman said that the proposal would involve changes in transport policy. It could be raised with the Transport Advisory Committee at an opportune time.

30. Noting that the size of the gas tank was the major factor determining the number of refills, a Member asked whether there was an optimum size of the tank. In reply, DS(C)/EFB explained that it was a question of the maximum rather than an optimum size of the tank because LPG tank was very heavy due to its construction. AC/TD said that TD intended to relax the weight limit of PLBs so that they could accommodate bigger LPG tanks.

31. A Member was concerned over the risk of explosion of LPG tanks and asked whether the Administration had considered the use of alcohol as an alternative fuel. In response, PAS(C)1/EFB said that LPG vehicles were already subject to very stringent design standards. Their LPG fuel systems had to be type approved by the Electrical & Mechanical Services Department before the vehicles could be registered. Moreover, only those custom made by vehicle manufacturers would be allowed since they were of higher safety standards. According to the overseas experience where LPG vehicles had been running on the road for many years, the safety records of diesel, petrol vehicles and LPG vehicles were comparable. AD(Air)/EPD elaborated that the LPG tank was designed in such a way that it would not explode easily under any circumstances. Regarding the use of alcohol as an alternative fuel, AD(Air)/EPD said that its advantage was to reduce carbon monoxide emission which was not a problem in Hong Kong. Besides, it was still under pilot tests in Brazil and the USA. The Administration would keep in view the results of those tests.


EIA
Subcommittee

32. The Chairman concluded that the Council fully supported the proposed incentive scheme in view of its benefits in the improvement of the air quality. He requested the Administration to report the progress of the scheme in due course.

Agenda Item 5 : South Lantau & Mui Wo Development Feasibility Study
(ACE Paper 45/2001)

33. The Chairman welcomed STP(SR)/PlanD and SE(HKI&I)/TDD to the meeting. STP(SR)/PlanD briefed Members on the proposed study.

34. A Member said that given the rich natural resources in South Lantau and the proximity to the future Disneyland theme park, there was great potential for tourism development in the study area. He was disappointed that the Administration did not take a more proactive approach in planning the land-use of South Lantau and Mui Wo. The study seemed to limit the development of the area to a certain estimated population figure. He urged the Administration to adopt a more committed approach in planning the use of the study area, targeting at more economic opportunities as far as possible.

35. A Member shared that Member's view. He said that from the way the study was presented to the Council, it seemed that the Government had no idea on how the study area should be developed and totally relied on the recommendations of the consultants. He pointed out that if the Government was determined to turn the area into a major tourist attraction, clear directives should be given to the consultants.

36. In response, STP(SR)/PlanD said that the study was based on the South West New Territories Recommended Development Strategy (RDS) in which the main objective for the development for South Lantau was to balance development with tourism and conservation needs. According to the RDS, the indicative population in Mui Wo was about 17,000, which would be subject to changes in subsequent further detailed studies. She thanked Members for their comments and said that the Administration would keep an open mind on the development potential of South Lantau while taking into account aspirations of the general public in due course. SE(HKI&I)/TDD supplemented that while bearing in mind the conservation need, one of the aims of the study was to establish a tourism development framework, to identify potential attractions and recommend proposals and facilities in that respect.

37. A Member did not agree with the reason stated in para. 2 of the paper that the development of South Lantau was brought about by the improved accessibility of the region arising from the transport infrastructure in North Lantau. He was of the opinion that the infrastructure was required because the Government intended to develop that area. He believed that Hong Kong had greater potential than many other countries to develop into a resort node and suggested the Administration to emphasize that point to the consultants.

38. A Member shared the sentiments of Members and said that the Government should take the lead and show its commitment to develop South Lantaut into an international tourist spot. He reckoned that the plan could always be refined during the consultation process.

39. A Member appreciated the goodwill of the Government to balance the land-use for conservation, tourism and recreation purposes. She pointed out that there were a great variety of tourism trends. The development of the study area should not be limited to only one of the trends. Instead a wide selection should be offered in the planning process, including education value of the area, environmental transportation such as ferry services, and residential development similar to that in Discovery Bay.

40. A Member pointed out that there were prisons and drug rehabilitation centres in the study area which were not compatible to the proposed land-use. She asked whether those institutions would be re-located and their sites be re-developed. In response, STP(SR)/PlanD said that they would request the consultants to address this in the study, taking into account other considerations of locating these correctional institutions.

41. The Chairman suggested that the study should also consider establishing a boarding school which was at present not available in Hong Kong.

42. As a general response to Members' comments, SE(HKI&I)/TDD said it was not true that the Administration had no idea on how the study area should be developed. In the light of the SWNT Recommended Development Strategy, the Administration had a clear vision that the Study Area should be developed along a balanced development and conservation approach in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. The Administration also recognized the unique characteristics of South Lantau being a relatively well conserved area in a high quality environment, and its potential in fulfilling a diversity of recreation, tourism and leisure needs. This was also one of the reasons Soko Islands were included in the Study Area. The Study Brief was clear in those directives, including strengthening tourist attractions, and the consultants were to come up with implementable plans as to how those objectives could be achieved.

43. In response to the Chairman's enquiry on the study programme, STP(SR)/PlanD and SE(HKI&I)/TDD said that they had already consulted the Town Planning Board on the scope and objectives of the study. The study was expected to commence in mid-2002. Phase I of the study would involve a 13-month planning stage and a 8-month studies on the preliminary engineering feasibility and environmental impact assessment. PlanD would draw up the Recommended Outline Development Plan upon the completion of the consultation on the Preliminary Outline Development Plan. Priority areas would be identified under Phase II of the study and detailed assessments would be carried out for those areas.

44. The Chairman thanked STP(SR)/PlanD and SE(HKI&I)/TDD for briefing the Council.

Agenda Item 6 : Second Public Consultation on the Consultancy Study "Urban Design Guidelines for Hong Kong"
(ACE Paper 46/2001)

45. The Chairman welcomed AD(Metro)/PlanD and CTP/PlanD to the meeting. AD(Metro)/PlanD gave a short briefing on the proposed guidelines and major urban design issues as outlined in consultation digest.

46. The Chairman commented on the obtrusive impact of the chopstick-like twin buildings which were under construction at Stubbs Road and the wall effect created by buildings planned in Cha Kwo Ling. He asked how those could be avoided under the proposed guidelines. In response, AD(Metro)/PlanD explained that the plot ratio of the twin buildings was lower than the maximum ratio permitted under the Building Planning Regulations (BPR). Their excessive height was because of no height restriction in the lease or statutory town plan, and the site coverage adopted by the developer was exceptionally low. The consultation digest had recommended options such as suitable height restrictions or minimum site coverage as measures to address concerns on excessive heights. As regards the wall effect of the planned buildings in Cha Kwo Ling, AD(Metro)/PlanD pointed out that the intensity of those buildings was lower than what was permitted under the BPR. Nonetheless, since Cha Kwo Ling was a Comprehensive Development Area, the detailed design of those buildings would be subject to approval by the Town Planning Board.

47. A Member followed up on the Chairman's point and said that if the development plot ratio on private land was to be maintained, chopstick-like buildings could not be avoided unless there were height restrictions. One possible solution was to allow transfer of plot ratio to areas where development of tall buildings would be accepted. In response, AD(Metro)/PlanD said that the permitted plot ratio under BPR could still be achieved under the currently proposed height profile which was 30 to 40 storeys at the waterfront and over 60 storeys inland. As no loss of plot ratio was involved, there was no need for plot ratio transfer in this regard. Nonetheless, Planning and Lands Bureau was considering the proposal of transfer of plot ratio to achieve heritage preservation but she anticipated that it would be a long process due to the complexity of the issue. She further stressed that Government had to face the dilemma of choosing between maximizing flexibility for building designs/development and regulations on building height to achieve specific urban design objective. One of the purposes of the series of consultation exercises was to solicit public opinions in the subject so that the Government could formulate a set of guidelines with a view to striking an optimum balance.

48. A Member supported the proposed guidelines but urged the Administration to expedite the process lest the ridgelines would be blocked before the guidelines and restrictions were put into place. AD(Metro)/PlanD shared that Member's concern and said that the consultation process was drawing to a close.

49. A Member asked whether some forms of compensation would be provided to the affected group whose development rights would be threatened under the proposed guidelines. AD(Metro)/PlanD said that it would become complicated and cause delay in implementation once compensation was involved. In deciding on the way forward the Administration would be inclined to choose option that would not involve the issue of compensation as far as possible.

50. A Member commended the PlanD's willingness to listen to the views of all groups and considered the whole process very educational. She suggested including environmental health consideration in developing the guidelines as air porosity contributed to part of the living quality. Also she suggested strengthening the ridgeline/waterfront protection, by legislation if necessary. She did not rule out the use of high-rise nodes as landmarks but emphasized that they should be put in strategic locations.

51. AD(Metro)/PlanD agreed with that Member's comments and said that the consultation exercise had aroused the public awareness of the issue of urban design. There was an almost unanimous view of the need to ensure for attractive waterfront development against the mountain backdrop but there were quite diverse opinions on the mechanism to achieve preservation of the ridgelines.

52. A Member noted that the existing ridgelines were already "punctuated" but the proposal would still allow relaxation on individual merits and accept punctuation effects at suitable locations. He asked how the merits would be assessed. Noting that developers of tall commercial buildings favoured location in Central, he also asked that for the purpose of preserving the ridgelines and the waterfront, whether the Administration could designate other areas for high-rise buildings and provide incentives to the developers to move to those areas.

53. In response, AD(Metro)/PlanD said that despite their efforts in encouraging development of secondary commercial nodes e.g. in new towns, developers still found the urban area in particular, Central, more attractive. As for assessment of design merits, PlanD was considering a proposal to designate special design zones in landscape sensitive areas where development proposals would be subject to approval by a special design panel or sub-committee under the Town Planning Board.

54. A Member agreed that the ridgelines should be maintained as far as practicable. However, having regard to the limited flat land in Hong Kong and that some ridgelines had already been "punctuated", he suggested that the designs of buildings which were located outside the view corridors should be considered under different criteria. AD(Metro)/PlanD said that as reflected on P.34 of the consultation digest, only areas within the view corridors would be subject to regulation on building height. High rise node would be encouraged at selected strategic location.

55. A Member commented that it would be difficult for the Administration to achieve the ridgelines/waterfront preservation purpose in the absence of restrictions on height and site coverage. For example, there were originally two more blocks at the centre of the Kowloon Station but later the approved floor area was incorporated with that of other buildings, making the latter taller than planned. From an architect's point of view, he said that as long as the Government spelt out the restrictions clearly, architects could find their ways to meet the developers' requirements and at the same time adhere to the restrictions. In addition, he would like to see more members of the architecture profession to be involved in the design vetting process. In response, AD(Metro)/PlanD explained that the Kowloon Station fell outside the proposed view corridors. The building height thereon could therefore be relaxed. She agreed with that Member that height restrictions were necessary to protect the ridgelines pending the location of the vantage point and extent of ridgeline to be preserved.

56. In response to a Member's enquiry, AD(Metro)/PlanD said that the major consideration of building designs in small local areas outside the view corridors or vantage points was preservation of local character instead of the ridgelines. Pending availability of resources, PlanD could consider commissioning detailed studies on the urban design framework of specific local areas or individual neighborhoods with a view to preserving special local characteristics.

57. In reply to the Chairman's question, AD(Metro)/PlanD said that the guidelines would be finalized after the second public consultation.

58. The Chairman thanked the PlanD for the presentation and looked forward to receiving the finalized guidelines.

Agenda Item 7 : Any Other Business

Report on ACE's visit to Europe

59. Due to the time constraint, the Chairman proposed to defer discussion on the report to the next meeting. He also said that the report, if endorsed, would be passed to the LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs for reference.

Environment Seminar & Networking Reception

60. The Chairman informed Members that the British Consul-General had invited the Council to an environment seminar held that day on solid waste and wastewater management and he had advised the Consul-General that the seminar clashed with the meeting. However, Members could join the Networking Reception to be held later that evening if they so wished.

Agenda Item 8 : Date of Next Meeting

61. The next meeting was scheduled for Monday, 17 December 2001.

ACE Secretariat
December 2001





EFB


 

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