At its meeting on 13 December 1999, the Subcommittee considered the EIA report of Village Flood Protection for Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Ngau Tam Mei, NWNT - Stage II, and discussed the justifications of the EIA report of Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highways (Southern Section).
2.Members are requested to advise whether the EIA reports should be endorsed.
VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE
Village Flood Protection for Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Ngau Tam Mei, NWNT - Stage II
(ACE EIA Paper 1/2000)
3.The project involves improving existing drainage, providing new drainage and/or providing flood storage ponds to alleviate the persistent flooding of nineteen villages in the Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Ngau Tam Mei catchments.
4.The village flood protection scheme covers 19 villages. A Preliminary Project Feasibility Study was conducted in May 1995 and concluded that 12 of the villages required environmental impact study. Subsequently, The "Main Drainage Channel (MDC) for Ngau Tam Mei, Yuen Long and Kam Tin EIA" and the "Rural Drainage Rehabilitation Scheme (RDRS) EIA" studied the environmental implications of 4 out of the 12 villages, namely Mai Po San Tsuen, Mai Po Lo Wai, Shui Tsui Lo Wan and Nam Hang. The MDC report and RDRS report were endorsed by the Council in July 1996 and January 1997 respectively. Subsequent to the commissioning of this study, the works for one of the remaining 8 villages, Shan Pui Chung Hau Tsuen, was superseded by drainage works under the adjacent Kau Hui Development. It is understood that the environmental impacts associated with the flood protection works for Shan Pui Chung Hau Tsuen will be addressed in the Kau Hui proposals.
5.The interdepartmental Environmental Study Management Group considered that the Report met the established environmental criteria and guidelines as set out in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines.
Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members
6.Subcommittee members discussed the report at the meeting. Their main concerns were on the ecological impact, visual impact and waste disposal arrangement.
7.On ecological impact, the project proponent confirmed that the existing wetland tables at Ko Po Tsuen and Sheung Che would be maintained as they stood at present through careful channel design and other appropriate mitigation measures. Upon completion of the project, it is intended that Drainage Services Department and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department would be responsible for the management and maintenance of the channel sections and the plantings respectively.
8.On visual impact, the proponent undertook that although concrete instead of grasscrete or gabion channels would be adopted in the project for reducing the necessary land take to the minimal, mitigation measures including tree planting would be implemented. The proponent also agreed to consider implementation of natural colouring as far as possible. Further measures would also be studied in the design stage for minimizing the project's potential visual impact.
9.On waste disposal arrangement, the proponent would ensure that proper procedures would be carried out by the contractor for safe disposal of various kinds of waste materials as well as channel desilting. As indicated by the findings of the assessment, the proponent was confident that the project area would not involve any contaminated land.
10. The Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report without condition.
Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highways (Southern Section)
(ACE EIA Paper 30/99)
11.The report was discussed in the Subcommittee's meeting on 13 December 1999. At the time, the Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council, subject to further deliberation on the justification of the project by the Council, to endorse the report on condition that construction of the Southern section of Route 10 would not commence until the EIA report of the Northern section was completed and endorsed, the cumulative environmental impact of both the Southern and Northern sections of Route 10 and all relevant findings and recommendations in both EIA studies could be subject to review when the EIA report for the Northern section was submitted under the EIA Ordinance, and the findings of the design review study of the toll plaza would be submitted to the Subcommittee once finalized.
12.The Council subsequently discussed the project at the meeting on 20 December 1999. The Subcommittee was directed to further deliberate on the justifications of the project before making final recommendation to the Council.
Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members
13.The proponent stated that there was a robust need for the proposed Route 10 in dual 3-lane design as confirmed by various related studies, even without taking into account the yet to be decided Hong Kong - Lantau Link (HKLL). If and when the HKLL was considered, it need to be justified based on its merits and the EIA concerned would need to fully assess and address the cumulative impact of all related projects before it could proceed.
14.On the alignment option and the toll plaza, the proponent confirmed that subject to detailed design the proposed alignment together with the toll plaza was already the best practical option with due considerations to engineering and technical constraints. Subject to further discussion with relevant departments, the proponent would however continue to explore the possibility of reducing the size of the toll plaza and relocating the toll plaza by adopting more auto-toll facilities.
15.On the traffic impact assessment, the proponent stated that the impact to be caused by this project on the existing transport network had already been taken into account. The worst scenario, i.e. high traffic flow prediction, was adopted in the assessment irrespective of the presence of HKLL. In case the traffic capacity of Route 10 was exceeded in future as a result of the subsequent expansion in development in its vicinity induced by the project itself, subject to separate environmental impact assessment to be carried out, alternative traffic arrangement would be considered.
16.The Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report with the following conditions:
construction of the Southern section of Route 10 would not commence until the EIA report of the Northern section was completed and endorsed;
when the EIA report for the Northern section was submitted under the EIA Ordinance, the cumulative environmental impact of both the Southern and Northern sections of Route 10 and all relevant findings and recommendations in both EIA studies could be subject to review; and
the findings of the design review study of the toll plaza would be submitted to the Subcommittee once finalized.
17.As a separate issue, the Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to :
set up a mechanism to monitor the progress and development of the findings of the Third Comprehensive Transport Study regularly so that Members could be briefed on the overall development of transport planning of the territory; and
suggest to the Sustainable Development Council, when established, to discuss the issue of a sustainable transport strategy for Hong Kong.
EIA Subcommittee Secretariat