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Advisory Council on the Environment

Waste Disposal Ordinance (Chapter 354) Amendments to Waste Disposal (Refuse Transfer Station) Regulation and Waste Disposal (Designated Waste Disposal Facility) Regulation

(ACE Paper 17/2002)
For advice

Purpose

This paper invites Members' support for our proposal to :
 

      (a) open the Northwest New Territories Transfer Station and the Ma Wan Transfer Station for accepting municipal solid waste delivered by private waste collectors at a charge of $38 and $68 per tonne respectively; and
  (b) include the Yung Shue Wan Transfer Station, Sok Kwu Wan Transfer Station, Northwest New Territories Transfer Station, and Ma Wan Transfer Station as designated waste disposal facilities.

Background

2. Refuse Transfer Stations (RTSs) are intermediary waste reception facilities where waste are collected and then compacted before they are shipped in bulk to landfills for final disposal. They could balance the distribution of waste delivered to our three landfills and help reduce the traffic loading and environmental problems associated with long haulage of waste collection vehicles. At present, we have seven RTSs. They are :
 

      (a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)

 
Island East Transfer Station (IETS);
Island West Transfer Station (IWTS);
West Kowloon Transfer Station (WKTS);
Kowloon Bay Transfer Station (KBTS);
Shatin Transfer Station (STTS);
North Lantau Transfer Station (NLTS); and
Outlying Islands Transfer Facilities (OITF) (which include six RTSs at Peng Chau, Hei Ling Chau, Mui Wo, Cheung Chau, Yung Shue Wan, and Sok Kwu Wan).

A map showing the distribution of the RTSs is at the Annex Excel Version. All RTSs are operated and managed by contractors engaged by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). Contractors are paid according to the waste intake at RTSs.

3. Before 1997, we only had three RTSs (namely IETS, KBTS and STTS). Because of their limited capacities, these RTSs could only cater for waste delivered by Government waste collection vehicles, and were not opened to private waste collectors. Following the commissioning of IWTS, WKTS, OITF and NLTS in 1997 and 1998, the RTS network became able to absorb privately collected waste. Hence, five RTSs were opened to private waste collectors between 1998 and 2001, and only two RTSs1 remain closed to private waste collectors.

RTS Charges

4. To avoid taxpayers subsidizing the private waste collection industry, private RTS users are subject to a charging scheme that has been put in place since 1998. The rates payable are stipulated in the Waste Disposal (Refuse Transfer Station) Regulation (Cap. 354). The rates are set at levels that would be commercially viable to the waste collection trade and at the same time enable the Government to recover at least the additional cost in handling the waste delivered by private waste collectors.

5. When charging was first introduced, there were both peak hour and non-peak hour rates. The aim was to discourage private waste collectors from delivering their waste to RTSs during peak hours when they were being heavily patronized by Government waste collection vehicles. However, a review in 2001 concluded that the RTSs could actually cope with the waste loads from both the Government and private waste collection vehicles simultaneously during peak hours without difficulties. As a result, we have dispensed with the peak hour and non-peak hour differential and are charging one single rate instead.

Designated Waste Disposal Facilities

6. The Waste Disposal (Designated Waste Disposal Facility) Regulation was enacted in April 1997. It empowers the Director of Environmental Protection to maintain order and counteract the evasion of charges payable, where applicable, in those waste disposal facilities designated under the Schedule of the Regulation.

The Proposals

7. The eighth RTS - Northwest New Territories Transfer Station (NWNTTS) - was informally commissioned in September 2001, and will be formally opened in mid-2002. It has been designed to handle about 1,100 tonnes of waste per day from both Government and private waste collection vehicles. During the initial phase of operation of the NWNTTS, it had been receiving only publicly collected waste and is operating at about 60% of its capacity. Since we have now confirmed its waste handling capability and that it can operate smoothly at very high environmental standard, we consider it appropriate to open NWNTTS to private waste collectors.

8. The Ma Wan Transfer Station (MaWTS), which will form part of OITF, is now under construction and is scheduled for completion in late 2002. With a design capacity of about 31 tonnes of waste per day, it would be able to cope with all the waste generated in Ma Wan. We plan to open MaWTS to both public and private waste collectors in late 2002. This will tie in with the occupation programme of a major residential development in Ma Wan.

9. Adopting the same basis in setting RTS charges as that stated in paragraph 4 above, we propose to set the charges for disposal of waste by private waste collectors at NWNTTS and MaWTS at $38 and $68 per tonne respectively.

10. Separately, apart from MaWTS which will be opened later this year, there are three RTSs that have been in operation in the last two years, but have yet to be designated as waste disposal facilities. They are the Yung Shue Wan Transfer Station, Sok Kwu Wan Transfer Station and NWNTTS (the formal commissioning of which will take place in mid-2002). We propose to include these three RTSs and MaWTS as designated waste disposal facilities so that the Director of Environmental Protection could exercise statutory control within them.

11. In addition, a new address has been assigned to WKTS after the recent naming of the road leading to the facility. We propose to replace the present address of WKTS set out in the Schedule to the Waste Disposal (Designated Waste Disposal Facility) Regulation with the new address.

Implication on Landfill Charges

12. The RTS charge is a service charge for using the RTS service only. It does not cover any landfill disposal charges. Private RTS users will need to pay the landfill charge on top of the RTS charge if and when the landfill charging scheme is in place. Amendment to the Regulations

13. We need to amend the Schedule to the Waste Disposal (Refuse Transfer Station) Regulation so as to open NWNTTS and MaWTS to private waste collectors and charge them at $38 and $68 per tonne respectively.

14. We also need to amend the Schedule to the Waste Disposal (Designated Waste Disposal Facility) Regulation so as to include Yung Shue Wan Transfer Station, Sok Kwu Wan Transfer Station, NWNTTS, and MaWTS as designated waste disposal facilities, and to revise the address of WKTS.

Environmental Benefits

15. RTSs are used to transfer waste in bulk to the three landfills, and are designed and operated to very high environmental standards. Wider use of RTSs by private waste collectors will shorten haulages of waste collection vehicles, which in turn will help reduce environmental problems associated with these vehicles on roads. This would also help reduce cross-district traffic in the territory.

Financial Implications

16. With the opening of NWNTTS and MaWTS to private waste collectors, the overall utilisation of RTSs will increase. The additional cost of handling the waste from private waste collectors would be recovered from the revenue arising from the proposed charges. The designation of RTSs as waste disposal facilities and the revision of WKTS's address have no financial implications.

Consultation

17. We consulted the then Yuen Long District Board (YLDB) and Tuen Mun District Board (TMDB) when we planned the NWNTTS project in 1993/94. While YLDB supported the project, TMDB had raised concern about the possible environmental nuisance and traffic congestion problems associated with the operation of NWNTTS. In response to TMDB's concerns, EPD had carried out a number of measures to ensure that NWNTTS would not bring about adverse impact to local residents2. EPD had subsequently arranged a site visit for the Tuen Mun District Council in late 2001 and received no further objection from the District Council.

18. In 1992, we consulted the Tsuen Wan District Board and the Ma Wan Rural Committee on the provision of infrastructural facilities, including the MaWTS, in Ma Wan and received no objection.

Recommendations

19. We recommend that :
 

      (a) the NWNTTS and the MaWTS be opened to private waste collectors and the charges be set at $38 and $68 per tonne respectively (paragraphs 7 - 9);
  (b) the Schedule of the Waste Disposal (Refuse Transfer Station) Regulation be amended to effect the proposal in (a) above (paragraph 13);
  (c) the Yung Shue Wan Transfer Station, Sok Kwu Wan Transfer Station, NWNTTS and MaWTS be included as designated waste disposal facilities (paragraph 10);
  (d) the address of the WKTS be revised (paragraph 11); and
  (e) the Schedule of the Waste Disposal (Designated Waste Disposal Facility) Regulation be amended to effect the proposals in (c) and (d) above (paragraph 14).

Subject to Members' agreement, we plan to table the Amendment Regulation at the Legislative Council for negative vetting in July 2002 and implement the proposals in late 2002.

Advice Sought

20. Members are invited to support the recommendations in paragraph 19 above.

Environment and Food Bureau May 2002




1STTS is not opened because it does not have spare capacity. KBTS is not opened because it is near to the Southeast New Territories Landfill, and private waste collectors would unlikely use its service.

2These measures include installation of a vehicle washing system to minimize environmental nuisance generated by vehicles leaving the NWNTTS; and traffic management measures to avoid congestion.

 

 

 

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Friday, 28 April, 2006