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Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 51st Meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 3 January 2000 at 4:00 p.m.


Present: Professor LAM Kin-che (Chairman)
Mr LIN Chaan-ming
Dr NG Cho-nam
Mr Plato YIP
Miss Alex YAU
Mr Otto POON
DR HO Kin-chung
Mr Howard CHAN (Secretary)


Absent with Apologies:
Mr Barrie COOK
Professor Peter HILLS

In Attendance:
Mr Elvis AU Assistant Director (Environmental Assessment & Noise), Environmental Protection Department (EPD) (AD(EA)/EPD)
Mr S P LAU Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)
Miss Agnes KWAN Assistant Secretary, Environment and Food Bureau


In Attendance for Agenda Item 3
Mr H Y Wong Senior Engineer, Territory Development Department (TDD) (SE/TDD)
Mr W K Ho Engineer, TDD
Mr Richard Deacon Technical Director, Binnie Black & Veatch (TD/BBV)
Mr Angus Proctor Environmental Scientist, BBV (ES/BBV)
Mr H M Wong Principal Environmental Protection Officer, EPD (PEPO/EPD)
Mr David Cox Senior Environmental Protection Officer, EPD (SEPO/EPD)
Mr K W Cheung Senior Nature Conservation Officer/North, AFCD(SNCO(North)/AFCD)


In Attendance for Agenda Item 4 :
Ms Shirley Lam Principal Assistant Secretary, Transport Bureau (PAS/TB)
Mr John Chai Deputy Project Manager/Major Works (1), Highways Department (HyD) (DPM(MW)/HyD)
Mr W C Chan Chief Engineer/Major Works 1-1, HyD
Mrs Joanna Kwok Chief Engineer/Strategic Roads, Transport Department (CE(SR)/TD)
Mr H M Wong Principal Environmental Protection Officer, EPD

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Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of 50th Meeting held on 13 December 1999

The Chairman asked Members to forward their comments, if any, on the minutes of the 50th meeting to the Secretariat after the meeting.

(Post-meeting notes: A Member proposed to add the following to paragraph 9 of the minutes: "In response to a Member's further enquiry, SE2(Route 10)/HyD clarified that the toll plaza was not sited to make connection with the Hong Kong-Lantau Link which might not materialise. He supplemented that the toll plaza was to toll for Route 10, which could end at North Lantau without the additional connection to the Green Island/Hong Kong Island." No other amendments were proposed by Members. The minutes were considered as confirmed subject to the amendments proposed by that Member.)

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

2. There was no matters arising from last meeting.

Agenda Item 3 : Village Flood Protection for Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Ngau Tam Mei, NWNT-Stage II
(ACE EIA Paper 1/2000)

3. The Chairman welcomed the presentation team and invited Members to raise concerns on the report.

Ecological Mitigation Measures

4. To address the concerns of a Member on the rehabilitation of Ko Po Tsuen and Sheung Che, TD/BBV explained that the existing wetland in these two areas would be maintained as it stood at present through proper implementation of ecological mitigation measures. For Ko Po Tsuen, a low flow diversion device in the box channels running parallel to Kam Tin Road would be installed and a sustained water table within the marshland area would be maintained by deleting the lateral drain and weepholes on the marshland side of the proposed 3.5m wide rectangular channel. A catchpit and opening to the channel which held the groundwater table close to the surface would then be formed to prevent draining of the existing wetland. For Sheung Che, TD/BBV clarified that the proposed box channel would divert the flood flow without affecting the existing wetland in the area. He pointed out that as proven in the past dry winter months, the wetland could be sustained even in the absence of flood flow.

5. In response to the further enquiry from a Member, SE/TDD confirmed that Drainage Services Department would be responsible for the management and maintenance of the proposed channels while Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department would take care of the vegetation planted for the project.

Visual Impact

6. A Member queried whether the proponent had considered any alternative design or implementing landscaping measures for the proposed box channels so as to make them less visually intrusive. TD/BBV explained that though there were some village houses near the channels, the concrete channels would be shielded by the existing vegetation originally or new vegetation to be planted for the project along the channels. ES/BBV further explained that according to the requirements of Drainage Services Department, the box channels should be wider than 3.5m if grasscrete or gabion floor was provided. In order to minimize the necessary land take, the width of 3m to 3.5m was therefore adopted for the project instead.

7. Upon a Member's request, TD/BBV undertook that natural colouring would be applied to the box channels as far as possible for minimizing the potential visual impact. SNCO(North)/AFCD confirmed that similar measure had been adopted in shotcreted slopes in country parks. ES/BBV also pointed out that apart from the mitigation measures recommended in sections 8 and 9 of the EIA report, further measures would be explored in the design stage for reducing the project's potential visual impact as far as practicable.

8. PEPO/EPD stated that according to past experience, it was possible that creepers would grow in the box channels which should further reduce the potential visual impact of the project. TD/BBV confirmed that, as stated in the EIA report, shrub/creeper planting would be considered as one of the mitigation measures for the project.

Waste Disposal

9. A Member referred to p.10-33 of the EIA report and enquired that how likely it was for the event that contaminated land would be found in the project area and who would be responsible for ensuring that channel desilting would be carried out during the dry season whenever possible. He was also concerned about how to ensure that the contractor would test the contaminant level of dredged mud and classify it before disposal. TD/BBV replied that according to the findings of the assessment and the fact that the land involved in the project area was basically used for agricultural purpose, he was confident that contaminated land would not be encountered. SEPO/EPD supplemented that as part of the project's monitoring programme, the contractor would be required to carry out site investigation which could include tests for certain major types of metal. He further pointed out that it was also the Administration's standing requirement that the proponent should supply information on the findings of land contamination and disposal arrangements for construction and demolition waste when applying funding for the project. It was the responsibility of the project proponent to ensure that all proper procedures would be strictly adhered to for safe disposal of various kinds of waste materials as well as for channel desilting.

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

Agenda Item 4 : Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highways (Southern Section)
(ACE EIA Paper 30/99)

11. The Chairman welcomed the presentation team and explained that the Subcommittee was directed by ACE to have further deliberation on the justifications of the project before making final recommendation to the Council.

Justifications of the Project

12. DPM(MW)/HyD stated that there was a robust need for a dual 3 lane design for the proposed Route 10 which had been confirmed by various related studies, even without taking into account the yet to be decided Hong Kong Lantau Link (HKLL).

13. Upon the enquiry of a Member, DPM(MW)/HyD undertook that appropriate mitigation measures would be implemented if HKLL materialised and resulted in congestion to Route 10 due to the increased traffic flow between Hong Kong Island and Lantau. PAS/TB supplemented that the Administration had yet to have a firm programme for HKLL since the project was not considered to be needed at this stage. She undertook that the Administration would closely monitor and review the situation and, if and when HKLL was considered for implementation, the project would need to be justified based on its merits and the EIA concerned would fully assess and address the cumulative impact of all related projects before it could proceed.

Alignment Option and the Toll Plaza

14. In response to a Member, DPM(MW)/HyD confirmed that subject to detail design, the proposed alignment together with the toll plaza was already the best practical option with due considerations to engineering and technical constraints. He further explained that due to aviation and marine restrictions, the proposed Tsing Lung Bridge was already designed to have a maximum span. Reclamation would be needed if otherwise. AD(EA)/EPD further pointed out that reclamation was not a practical alternative since the waters concerned was essential in maintaining the tidal flow of the harbour. DPM(MW)/HyD however undertook to continue exploring the possibility of reducing the size of the toll plaza and relocating the toll plaza by adopting more auto-toll facilities through further discussion with relevant departments.

Traffic Impact Assessment

15. To address a Member's concerns on the traffic impact assessment in relation to the project, DPM(MW)/HyD stated that the impact to be caused by this project on the existing transport network had already been taken into account in the EIA report. The worst case scenario, i.e. high traffic flow prediction, was adopted in the assessment irrespective of the presence of HKLL. CE(SR)/TD also stated that the traffic impact assessment had already taken into account the recommendations of other relevant traffic analysis including the Second Railway Development Study and the Third Comprehensive Transport Study.

16. Upon the query of a Member, DPM(MW)/HyD confirmed that alternative traffic arrangement would be considered in case the traffic capacity of Route 10 was exceeded in future as a result of further development subsequent to the implementation of the project and this would be subject to separate environment impact assessment.

17. A Member enquired whether the Cho Ko Wan Link Road (CKWLR) would be implemented. AD(EA)/EPD stated that the CKWLR would be discussed in detail in the EIA report on "Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study", which would be submitted together with another EIA report on "Construction of an International Theme Park in Penny's Bay of North Lantau and Its Essential Associated Infrastructures" to be submitted to the Subcommittee in due course.

18. The Chairman proposed and Members 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.
 


19. As a separate issue, the Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend to the Council to:

(a)
  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
 
(b)
  suggest to the Sustainable Development Council, when established, to discuss the issue of a sustainable transport strategy for Hong Kong.
 

Agenda Item 5 : Monthly Update of Applications under the EIA Ordinance

20. Members noted the monthly update of applications under the EIAO, the tentative schedule for submission to ACE EIA Subcommittee, and the lists for designated/non-designated projects not selected for submission (as at 25 December 1999).

21. AD(EA)/EPD informed Members that starting from 1 January 2000, project proponents were required to submit the project profiles in both Chinese and English to EPD to facilitate the public inspection process.

Agenda Item 6 : Any Other Business

22. A Member expressed concerns on the funding approvals granted by the Legislative Council for the detailed design studies of government works projects prior to endorsement of the EIA reports by ACE. The Secretary of the Subcommittee said that the existing mechanism already provided that funding for works projects could be sought in stages. But works departments had to exercise the highest degree of care to avoid abortive work done in case the projects were found environmentally unacceptable after completing the EIA study. AD(EA)/EPD supplemented that according to the EIA Ordinance, no construction work could commence for designated projects without environmental permits, and, if there are design submissions required under the permit before certain parts of the works commence, those submissions needed to be made to the satisfaction of the Director of Environmental Protection.

Agenda Item 7 : Date of Next Meeting

23. The Chairman informed Members that the next meeting was scheduled on 8 February 2000.

24. The meetings adjourned at 6:05 pm.


EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
March 2000


 

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