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Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 42nd Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting

(ACE Paper 14/99)
for advice

INTRODUCTION

At its meeting of 29 March 1999, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Subcommittee considered and endorsed the following reports:

 

(a) Environmental Study Report of "Expansion of Kiosks and Other Facilities at Lok Ma Chau Boundary Crossing";
(b) the EIA Reports on "Infrastructural Works for the Proposed Development at Telegraph Bay - Engineering Feasibility Study";
(c) "1800 MW Gas-fired Power Station at Lamma Extension"; and
(d) the Pilot Test Report and Alternative Remediation Strategy of "Kai Tak Airport North Apron Decommissioning".

ADVICE SOUGHT

2.Members are requested to advise whether the reports mentioned at (a) to (c) above should be endorsed and are invited to note the Subcommittee's views on the report mentioned at (d) above which does not require Members' endorsement.

VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE

Expansion of Kiosks and Other Facilities at Lok Ma Chau Boundary Crossing Environmental Study Report
(ACE EIA Paper 5/99)

3.The project is a designated project exempted under section 9(2)d of the EIA Ordinance, as the proposed works are authorized under the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance before the EIA Ordinance came into operation on 1 April 1998. Lok Ma Chau Crossing is one of the major boundary crossings between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). To alleviate queuing at the Crossing, the HKSAR Government had committed to expand the kiosks and other facilities at Lok Ma Chau in 1999 - 2002.

4.The Study concludes that with mitigation measures, environmental impacts during the construction phase and the operational phase will be within the established guidelines and standards. Mitigation measures have been recommended to further reduce the anticipated construction environmental impacts and limit the disturbance on bird population. Noise due to infrequent emergency use of the helipad will meet the relevant noise criterion. Ecologically, the Study has recommended mitigation measures for replacing lost habitats, restoring damaged habitat function and limiting disturbance on habitats. The measures include the construction of a reedbed on the abandoned fishponds. With the mitigation measures in place, the residual ecological impacts due to the expansion project will be negligible.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

5.Members discussed the report at the meeting. Queries mainly focussed on the monitoring of the reedbed, the flooding issue and the problem of illegal infilling.

6.The project proponent undertook to monitor the hydraulic performance and other significant ecological impacts of the mitigating reedbed area, which was the first its kind in Hong Kong, so as to provide necessary data as well as experience for reference by other projects in future.

7.The project proponent also confirmed that the project would not cause or aggravate the flooding problem at the boundary. Nonetheless, a drainage impact assessment report was prepared and submitted separately to the Drainage Services Department and other relevant departments for reference.

8.In response to Members' concerns on illegal infilling in the vicinity of the project's site, the project proponent undertook to request the District Lands Office to keep Members informed of the progress of its actions against illegal infilling.

9.The Subcommitte agreed to recommend to the main Council to endorse the report without condition.

Infrastructural Works for the Proposed Development at Telegraph Bay - Engineering Feasibility Study
(ACE EIA Paper 7/99)

10.The project which covers an area of about 26 ha. is a Designated Project under Item 1 in Schedule 3 of the EIA Ordinance - an engineering feasibility study of urban development projects with a study area covering more than 20 ha.

11.The EIA report covers two alternative schemes but the Government has decided to go ahead with Scheme 2 which incorporates the infrastructural works proposed in Scheme 1 :

Scheme 1 - The Housing Development : it consists of mainly housing developments (about 2,600 residential units), together with Government, Institution & Community (G/IC) facilities and the supporting infrastructural works for a planned residential population of about 10,000 by 2004/05.

Scheme 2 - The Cyberport Development : in addition to housing (about 3,000 residential units) and G/IC components, this scheme includes commercial, office and hotel developments. Supporting infrastructural works similar to Scheme 1 are required for a planned residential population of about 10,000 and working population of about 12,000 by 2007. The Cyberport will be a strategic infrastructure project to provide a high quality living and working environment for information technology and service companies.

12.Traffic noise impact will be generated from the new district distributor roads and the proposed Route 7. With the recommended direct mitigation measures in place, all the affected noise sensitive receivers except 3 existing schools would comply with the established noise criteria. Indirect technical remedies in the form of window insulation and air-conditioning would be required for these 3 schools. The air quality impact assessment results for both schemes indicate that all the identified air sensitive receivers would meet the Air Quality Objectives. The major potential ecological impacts of the proposed development relate to the loss of young woodland and shrubland/grassland habitats within the reclaimed area. However, this reclaimed area is regarded as having little ecological value. To mitigate the impact, a total of about 2.2 ha. of on-site compensatory planting against the loss of 1.3 ha. is recommended.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

13.Members discussed the report and raised concerns mainly on the noise and visual impacts of the project as well as the design and environmental impact of Route 7.

14.The project proponent confirmed that noise abatement measures would be adopted where appropriate. The forecast traffic demand to be generated by the Cyperport development up to 2006 could be adequately addressed through the improvement works to be carried out at five existing road junctions in Pok Fu Lam area and the proposed Northern and Southern Access Roads. It was confirmed that the viability of Cyperport did not hinge upon the construction of Route 7 which is still undergoing a feasibility study. Members were also informed that this was a stand alone project which did not necessarily require the building of Route 7. Nevertheless, the project proponent agreed to convey Members' suggestion to the relevant authority to consider building the relevant section of Route 7 at Telegraph Bay in a tunnel or decked-over construction.

15.The project proponent also confirmed that the view corridor and the sea view of the residential buildings in the nearby area would be retained as far as possible.

16.The Subcommittee agreed that subject to the confirmation that the predicted noise levels at all noise sensitive receivers do not exceed the relevant standard after mitigation, to recommend the main Council to endorse the report.

17.Subsequently, the project proponent has confirmed in writing that the predicted noise levels at all noise sensitive receivers would comply with the relevant standards after provision of mitigation measures.

1800 MW Gas-fired Power Station at Lamma Extension
(ACE EIA Paper 6/99)

18.In 1995, the Hong Kong Electric Company (HEC) proposed to the Government to build a new 1,800 MW power station to meet Hong Kong's future electricity demand. The issue of the electricity demand is being taken up separately by the Economic Services Bureau. In February 1998, the main Council endorsed HEC's Stage 1 EIA report which recommended an overall environmentally-preferred option for a gas-fired power station employing combined cycle gas turbine technology and forming an extension to the existing Lamma Power Station. Based on the Stage 1 EIA recommendations, HEC was advised by the Government in March 1998 to proceed, on a no commitment basis, with detailed site investigation and the detailed EIA study.

19.The works include Designated Projects under items D1, H2 and C1 in Schedule 2 of the EIA Ordinance, i.e. public utility electricity power plant; a submarine gas pipeline; and reclamation works more than 5 ha. in size, respectively.

20.The Study concludes that most of the potential impacts identified and evaluated are acceptable without mitigation, although in several areas specific forms of mitigation have been recommended to reduce, minimise or manage impacts to acceptable levels. Specific examples include the scheduling of pipeline installation works to periods which minimise impacts on marine mammals, and the careful arrangement of the layout of the transmission cable landing point to avoid disturbance of a locally rare plant on Lamma Island.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

21.Members were concerned about the availability of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), marine ecological impacts, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and the environmental management system of the project proponent.

22.The project proponent assured Members the timely establishment of the LNG terminal in Shenzhen and hence the availability of LNG for the proposed Lamma power station extension. On marine ecological impacts, HEC agreed, in consultation with AFD, to consider placing the mitigating artificial reefs in the potential Lamma marine park which might be located close to the subject site. It was also confirmed that the project's impacts on thermal discharge and marine mammals were unlikely to be adverse and the cumulative impacts of the Waste-to-Energy Incineration Facility were likely to be insignificant.

23.The project proponent undertook to take all practical steps to minimise GHG emissions in line with any future Government's GHG policy. Members were also briefed on the environmental management system implemented by the project proponent and noted that relevant documents would be forwarded to Members for reference once available.

24.The Subcommittee agreed to recommend endorsement of the EIA report, but not the need of the project, on the condition that the power station extension would be fuelled by LNG instead of coal.

Kai Tak Airport North Apron Decommissioning - Pilot Test Report and Alternative Remediation Strategy
(ACE EIA Paper 8/99)

25.The EIA report for "Kai Tak Airport North Apron Decommissioning" was endorsed by the main Council at its meeting on 31 August 1998 with conditions. One of the conditions is that the project proponent should submit to the EIA Subcommittee a report on the results of the pilot test on the effectiveness of the "Soil Vapour Extraction" (SVE) and "Air Sparging" (AS) methods before starting the decontamination work for the Hotspot B at the Kai Tak Airport North Apron. This was subsequently translated into relevant conditions in the Environmental Permit (EP) issued on 23 September 1998.

26.Conclusion of the pilot test is that the SVE and AS methods, when properly designed and implemented, are suitable and effective to clean up the less contaminated areas in Hotspot B to the required standards. The SVE has demonstrated to be an effective method to aerate the ground and vent off hazardous gases such as methane in a controlled manner so that future construction and developments on this site can be safeguarded.

27.The final recommendation is that SVE and AS should be adopted for the less contaminated areas of Hotspot B. In view that biodegradation may take a longer time to complete at the more contaminated areas in Hotspot B, biopiling is recommended for those areas with a TPH level in the saturated zone greater than 2750 ppm (i.e. the trigger level) to meet the urgent need of land for development.

28.The alternative remediation strategy for Hotspot B can be summarized as follows : -

 

(a) additional site investigation will be carried out at Hotspot B to refine the contamination contours;
(b) for areas below the trigger level, SVE and AS will be used. The performance of the system will be continuously monitored to ensure the remediation targets can be met. The fall back option of biopiling will be taken at areas in which the remediation progress is not satisfactory; and
(c) for areas above the trigger level, SVE and AS will be used as pretreatment and the contaminated soil will eventually be excavated and treated by biopiling.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

29.Members discussed the report and were concerned about the sampling and remediation methods as well as the remediation targets to be achieved.

30.The project proponent confirmed that sufficient number of sampling points at appropriate locations were used to define the level and extent of contamination and that SVE and AS methods were most suitable for the less contaminated area. However, biopiling would be the fall back option if otherwise the remediation targets could not be met, even if it meant extending the 18 months' time frame expected for the cleaning up process.

31.Both the project proponent and EPD confirmed that the remediation targets set for the subject site provided sufficient protection for whatever land use alternatives, including underground structure, in future.

32.Noting that a full report would be submitted upon the completion of the entire project, Members were satisfied with the information provided by the project proponent.


EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
April 1999


 

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