Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 98th Meeting held on 29 July 2002
A Member proposed to delete the last sentence from para. 41 of the draft minutes. The minutes were confirmed subject to the proposed amendment.
Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising
Matters arising from the minutes of 97th meeting
Para. 10 : Permit condition proposed by Green Lantau Association
2. Mr. Rob Law informed the meeting that as there was no provision in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) empowering him as the approving authority to impose additional penalty against violation of the terms of an environmental permit, he had no authority to impose the requirement of a bond as a permit condition. However, he understood that the Highways Department was looking into administrative measures that could serve the same purpose.
3. Mr. Law agreed with the Chairman's suggestion that the need for such a provision should be examined if the EIAO was reviewed in future.
Matters arising from the minutes of 98th meeting
Para. 4 : Meeting with stakeholders
4. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman informed the meeting that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Subcommittee would discuss the subject of meeting with stakeholders at its next meeting.
Para. 49 : Mr. Loh Ah Tuan's visit
5. The Chairman informed Members that due to other commitments, Mr. Loh had postponed his visit to Hong Kong and hence could not attend the present meeting.
Agenda Item 3 : Report on the 73rd meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee
(ACE Paper 28/2002)
6. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman summarized the major concerns of the Subcommittee on the EIA report on Deep Bay Link (DBL) and drew Members' attention to the proposed conditions set out in para. 16 of ACE Paper 28/2002.
7. The Chairman asked about the nature of preparatory work that needed to be carried out for DBL before the completion of the EIA report on Shenzhen Western Corridor (SWC). In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that it was mainly related to land resumption.
8. A Member asked whether the project proponent had agreed to the proposed conditions. He also enquired about the implications for DBL if the EIA report on SWC was not approved. In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that the project proponent was informed of the proposed conditions at the Subcommittee meeting and had not raised any objections. As regards DBL, the project could not start construction if the EIA report on SWC was not approved. The Chairman supplemented that once agreed by the full Council, the proposed conditions would be submitted to the Director of Environmental Protection as the Council's advice and the Director had the discretion to decide whether or not to adopt the proposed conditions.
9. Referring to para. 16 (d) of the paper, a Member expressed concern and another Member concurred that the proposed condition might set a precedent of requiring a project proponent to provide alternative accommodation for residents affected by temporary residual noise impact and that would have significant implications for future designated projects, particularly if a large number of affected persons were involved. In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman clarified that the proposed condition was based on the Subcommittee's sentiment that the project proponent should look after the interest of the affected residents despite the temporary nature of the noise impact. It was just a proposal for consideration of the project proponent. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, Mr. Law said that he was not aware of any precedent case in which the project proponent provided alternative accommodation for individuals affected by residual noise impact but there had been cases of the project proponent paying the air conditioning expenses incurred by the affected households during the impact period.
10. A Member noted that the six dwellings were not qualified for the provision of air-conditioning under "existing guidelines". He asked what those guidelines were. In response, Mr. Law said that as he was not at the Subcommittee meeting, he was not certain about the context of the discussion. The guidelines might likely be those agreed among works departments to deal with excessive traffic noise impacts arising from the operation of new roads. Another Member supplemented that according to his understanding, the guidelines set out the specifications, like the magnitude and duration of exceedances, for affected parties to be qualified for the provision of air-conditioning.
11. In reply to the Member's follow-up question, Mr. Law said that the Noise Control Ordinance only governed piling activities and construction works during night hours.
12. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that at present there was no law governing construction activities during daytime. The practice of the EIA Subcommittee was to suggest measures to alleviate the noise impact based on the magnitude and the duration of exceedances.
13. Sharing the concerns of the above Members, another Member suggested revising the wording of para. 16(d) of the paper while retaining the spirit of taking care of the interest of the affected residents. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman suggested and Members agreed to replace the words "alternative accommodation" with "relief" in para. 16(d).
14. On para. 16(f), a Member suggested that instead of specifying the colour schemes to be or not to be adopted, the project proponent should be asked to consider designing noise barriers that would blend in with the surrounding environment. Mr. Law supplemented that aesthetic designs were subjective and that project proponents should be given as much flexibility as possible in designing noise barriers. In response to another Member's views, the Chairman suggested and Members agreed to delete the words "such as ......Highway" from para. 16(f) of the paper.