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Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 54th Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting

(ACE Paper 23/2000)
For advice

INTRODUCTION

At its meeting on 12 June 2000, the Subcommittee considered the EIA reports of Tai O Sheltered Boat Anchorage and Widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling.

ADVICE SOUGHT

2.Members are requested to advise whether the EIA reports should be endorsed.

VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE

Tai O Sheltered Boat Anchorage


(ACE EIA Paper 7/2000)

3.The Sheltered Boat Anchorage will revive the fishing industry at Tai O and also assist in meeting the shortfall of available typhoon shelter space in Hong Kong. As part of the project, the former Tai O saltpans will be formed to accommodate future planting of around 7 ha of mangroves. This future planting, to be carried out by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, is intended as off-site mitigation for those mangroves lost as a result of the construction of Chek Lap Kok airport and associated port and airport developments on the northern shore of Lantau.

4.The project will provide 8 ha. of anchorage area for about 220 small boats/fishing vessels. The scope of works comprises the construction of a 700 m long breakwater, a land reclamation of 1 ha. for boat maintenance facilities and loading/unloading bay, the dredging of the Anchorage area/Approach Channels and site formation of the former salt pans for the future planting of around 7 ha of mangrove.

5.The Director of Environmental Protection (DEP), in consultation with the relevant authorities, considers that the report meets the requirements of the EIA Study Brief and the Technical Memorandum (TM) on Environmental Impact Assessment Process. Civil Engineering Department, the project proponent, has been requested to initiate public consultation in accordance with the requirements under the EIAO. Comments from the public and the Council will be taken into account before DEP makes the decision on the approval of the EIA report.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members

6.Subcommittee Members discussed the report at the meeting and were mainly concerned about the design of the breakwater, size of the Sheltered Boat Anchorage, the feasibility of mangrove planting scheme and the project's integration with the on-going Tai O Revitalisation Study.

7.On the design of the breakwater, the project proponent confirmed that the layout of the entire project including the proposed breakwater was found satisfactory to all relevant authorities. According to the findings of the EIA report, they were confident that the statutory Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) would be complied with. The breakwater would be located to ensure that flows from the Tai O Creek would not be embayed. Furthermore, with the dredging for the Anchorage and the Approach Channels, the water quality modeling indicated no exceedance of the WQOs, and there would be adequate flushing. The design of the breakwater as a continuous rubble mound structure was acceptable with respect to water quality impact. However, the proponent undertook to consider Members' suggestion to come up with a design of the breakwater which incorporated the flushing effect during the detailed design stage of the project.

8.On the size of the Sheltered Boat Anchorage, the proponent clarified that the maximum capacity of 220 boats for the Anchorage was designed for not only accommodating the existing fishing vessels but also allowing future growth in the fishing industry in Tai O, which was one of the key objectives of the project.

9.On the feasibility of the mangrove planting scheme, the proponent confirmed that the 50 m buffer area proposed between the mangrove planting area and the Anchorage was considered sufficient by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). While the detailed design and management of the mangrove planting area would be taken care by AFCD, the predicted water quality impact arising from the project was within the acceptable level and would not cause any adverse effect to the mangrove.

10.With respect to the Planning Department's Tai O Revitalisation Study, the proponent confirmed that the Sheltered Boat Anchorage was recognized as an integral part of the revitalization. The layout of the Sheltered Boat Anchorage project, including the preparation of the area for subsequent mangrove planting, had been taken into account in the Tai O Revitalisation Study.

11.The Subcommittee Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report without condition.

Widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling


(ACE EIA Paper 8/2000)

12.To alleviate the existing traffic congestion problems and to cope with the traffic growth to and from the urban areas and the boundary as identified in NENT Development Strategy Review, the Tolo Highway and Fanling Highway needs to be widened.

13.The project is to provide one additional lane in each direction along the 8.7 km of Tolo Highway and Fanling Highway between Island House interchange and Wo Hop Shek Interchange. It also includes the widening of the interchange sections at Island House, Tai Po North and Lam Kam Road from the existing dual 2-lane to dual 3-lane and realignments of various slip roads.

14.DEP in consultation with the relevant authorities considers that the report meets the requirements of the EIA Study Brief and the TM on Environmental Impact Assessment Process. Highways Department, the project proponent, has been requested to initiate public consultation in accordance with the requirements under the EIAO. Comments from the public and the Council will be taken into account before DEP makes the decision on the approval of the EIA report.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members

15.Subcommittee Members discussed the report at the meeting. The main concerns were on the projected need for widening the section of Fanling Highway to the north of Wo Hop Shek Interchange and the landscaping measures.

16.On the need for widening the section of Fanling Highway to the north of Wo Hop Shek Interchange, the project proponent confirmed that according to the findings of the Third Comprehensive Transport Study, there was no foreseeable problem on the traffic capacity of this road section. Hence, the Administration currently had no plan for widening this section of Fanling Highway. Moreover, the completion of the Fanling Bypass would attract some traffic from the Fanling Highway and alleviate traffic congestion problems arising from projected increase of traffic flow in that area.

17.On the landscaping measures, the proponent undertook that plantings with appropriate mix would be adopted to minimize the potential visual impact of the project as far as practicable. They also confirmed that apart from the use of a combination of transparent and non-transparent panels for the noise barriers to be constructed for the project, suitable colourings would be applied to further enhance the aesthetic effect.

18.The Subcommittee Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report without condition. However, the Subcommittee would like to request the Council to draw to the Administration's attention of Members' grave concern on the lack of a sustainable overall solution to the long-term transport demand in the territory.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
June 2000


 

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