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Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 74th Meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 30 September 2002 at 4:00pm

Present:

Professor LAM Kin-che, JP (Chairman)  
Mr. Otto POON (Deputy Chairman)  
Professor Anthony HEDLEY, BBS, JP  
Dr. HO Kin-chung  
Mr. Peter Y C LEE, SBSt.J  
Mrs. Mei NG  
Dr. NG Cho-nam  
Miss Alex YAU  
Miss Petula POON (Secretary)  


Absent with Apology:

Mr. Barrie COOK  
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming  


In Attendance:

Ms. Iris TAM, JP Member of ACE Prof. WONG Yuk-shan, JP Member of ACE
Mr. Elvis AU Assistant Director (Environmental Assessment & Noise), Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
Mr. C W LAI Acting Assistant Director (Conservation), Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (E), Environment, Transport and Works Bureau


In Attendance for Agenda Item 1:
 

Mr. CHEUNG Yee-tin, David Chief Engineer, Drainage Services Department (DSD)
Mr. MAK Ka-wai Senior Engineer, DSD
Mr. FONG Hok-shing, Michael Engineer, DSD
Mr. YU Wang-pong Environmental Protection Officer, EPD
Mr. YEUNG Yiu-wing Project Manager, Ove Arup & Partners
Mr. CHAN Yun-fat, Louis Senior Engineer, Ove Arup & Partners
Mr. LEE Wing-leung, Eric Senior Engineer, Ove Arup & Partners
Mr. Doug McLEARIE Director, Environmental Management Ltd (EML)
Mr. Peter C T LEE Principal Environmental Consultant, EML
Mr. Lawrence TSUI Senior Environmental Consultant, EML
Ms. Amy CHEUNG Environmental Consultant, EML
Mr. Tom DAHMER Managing Director, Ecosystem Ltd.
Mr. KWOK Hon-kai Senior Ecologist, Ecosystem Ltd.
Mr. Simon HUI Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Assessment & Audit), EPD
Mr. Collin KEUNG Acting Senior Environmental Protection Officer (AA), EPD


In Attendance for Agenda Item 4:
 

Mr. Paul TANG Deputy Secretary (Transport)1, Environment, Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB)
Mr. Adrian K K NG Deputy Project Manager (Major Works)3, Highways Department (HyD)
Mr. T K LEE Chief Engineer (Major Works)3-3, HyD
Mr. K T CHEUNG Senior Engineer (SWC), HyD
Mr. Tony SO Chief Engineer, Transport Department
Mr. Alex KONG Deputy Project Director, Ove Arup & Partners HK Ltd.
Mr. S Y CHAN Project Manager, Ove Arup & Partners HK Ltd.
Mr. Eric CHAN Deep Bay Link Interface Manager, Ove Arup & Partners HK Ltd.
Mr. Doug McLEARIE Director, (EML)
Mr. Peter CT LEE Principal Environmental Consultant, EML
Dr. K L PUN Senior Environmental Consultant, EML
Mr. Lawrence TSUI Senior Environmental Consultant, EML
Mr. Tom DAHMER Managing Director, Ecosystem Ltd.
Dr. H K KWOK Senior Ecologist, Ecosystem Ltd.
Mr. Vincent LAI Senior Ecologist, Ecosystem Ltd.
Mr. Craig DOUBLEDAY Director/Landscape Designer, Urbis Ltd.
Mrs. Shirley LEE Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment), EPD
Mr. Ken WONG Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment)5, EPD
Mr. Y K CHAN Senior Nature Conservation Officer (North), AFCD
Mr. Dick CHOI Senior Marine Conservation Officer (West), AFCD



 

 

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The Chairman informed Members that after studying the EIA report on the Construction of Lung Kwu Chau Jetty, six Members had indicated that a presentation by the project proponent at the meeting would not be necessary. The Subcommittee agreed that Members would consider later at the meeting or by correspondence afterwards whether they would propose any conditions for endorsing the report.

(Post-meeting note : Members agreed after the meeting that they would recommend the EIA report to the Council for endorsement subject to the condition that the project proponent would implement all mitigation measures stated in Tables 11.1 to 11.4 of the report and that future maintenance dredging during the operation of the jetty would avoid the peak season that the Chinese White Dolphins would visit the area (May-August inclusive).

Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 72nd and 73rd Meetings held on 8 July and 5 August 2002

2. Members confirmed the draft minutes without amendments.

3. Members also had no comments on the notes of the informal dialogue conducted on 8 July 2002.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Para. 3 : Update on the status of mitigation measures of abandoned meanders of Kam Tin River

4. The Chairman reported that the updates provided by the Territory Development Department were circulated to Members on 19 August 2002 and no further enquiries were raised.

 

Para. 45: Guidelines on meeting with major stakeholders of designated projects

5. In the light of the substantial agenda of the meeting, the Chairman proposed and Members agreed to postpone the discussion to the next meeting.

Agenda Item 3 : Ngong Ping Sewage Treatment Works and Sewerage
(ACE-EIA Paper 16/2002)

6. The Chairman welcomed Mr. David Cheung and the project proponent team to the meeting. Mr. Peter CT Lee briefed Members on the findings of the EIA and the proposed mitigation measures.

Discharge options

7. In response to a Member's enquiry, Mr. Cheung said that the estimated quantities of construction and demolition (C&D) materials to be generated by the Tai O and Tung Wan options were 48,500 m3 and 47,000 m3 respectively. They were liaising closely with the Civil Engineering Department (CED) to identify suitable disposal sites for the C&D materials and would submit a detailed C&D materials disposal plan to the authority for approval.

8. In response to a Member's question on the human health risk of the Tung Wan option, Mr. Cheung said that they were working with the Water Supplies Department on mitigation measures for the Tung Wan option such as the laying of twin pipes and putting in place a full monitoring system. They had commissioned a consultant to carry out risk assessment to see if the risks of pipeline leakage or bursting could be controlled to within acceptable level. If the risks were found acceptable, they would not rule out the possibility of adopting the Tung Wan option. The risk assessment was expected to be completed by November 2002.


Subcommittee

9. In response to a Member's request, Mr. Cheung agreed to submit the risk assessment report to the Subcommittee upon completion.

10. In response to a Member's enquiry, Mr. Simon Hui said that the construction of the pipeline would be a designated project because it cut through a country park. Since the risk assessment of the Tung Wan option was still underway, the Member suggested the Subcommittee consider endorsing the sewage treatment plant and the sewerage system while reserving the recommendation on the discharge option until the results of the risk assessment were available.

11. A Member said that the Tai O residents objected to the project mainly because of the close proximity of the discharge outfall to the residential area. He asked if it was possible to build a longer submarine outfall away from the residential area which in the long run would also avoid siltation problem arising from the suspended solids in the discharge effluent. In response, Mr. Cheung explained that there was about 30 m thick of mud layer at the mouth of the Tai O Creek which contained contaminated mud. The building of a longer submarine outfall would involve dredging of the contaminated mud and would cause adverse impacts on the environment.

Impact on water sensitive receivers

12. A Member asked whether the impacts on all water sensitive receivers including the seashore restaurants at Tai O had been assessed and whether other developments had been taken into account in the assessment. In response, Mr. Peter CT Lee reassured Members that impacts on all sensitive receivers and known planned developments at Tai O had been included in the assessment and the results showed that they were acceptable. Mr. Cheung added that the Director of Drainage Services had given assurance to the local residents that in case of typhoon and high tide, the discharge of effluent would be temporarily suspended.

13. Another Member asked if the Tung Wan option was chosen, whether the water quality of the beaches located at south Lantau, for example, Cheung Sha and Tong Fuk, would be affected. In response, Mr. Peter Lee clarified that the beaches were in fact located away from Tung Wan. A water quality assessment on the Tung Wan option being conducted would look into that point to ensure that the problem would not exist. The Chairman requested and the project proponent agreed to inform the Subcommittee of the outcome of the water quality assessment in due course.



DSD

13. Another Member asked if the Tung Wan option was chosen, whether the water quality of the beaches located at south Lantau, for example, Cheung Sha and Tong Fuk, would be affected. In response, Mr. Peter Lee clarified that the beaches were in fact located away from Tung Wan. A water quality assessment on the Tung Wan option being conducted would look into that point to ensure that the problem would not exist. The Chairman requested and the project proponent agreed to inform the Subcommittee of the outcome of the water quality assessment in due course.

Water quality compliance

14. Noting that the water quality would be of 95 percentile compliance, the Chairman was concerned about the worst-case scenario of the remaining 5 percentile. In response, Mr. Louis Chan said that the sewage treatment plant was designed to comply with the effluent standards at all times and that the quality of the discharge would be quite stable.

Ecological impact

15. Noting that a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Ngong Ping was close to a section of the village sewers, a Member asked about the proposed mitigation measures. In response, Mr. Peter CT Lee pointed out that the SSSI was actually located away from the village sewers. The potential impact would be from the construction work alone. To deal with that, the construction work of the project would avoid the breeding season of the Romer's Tree Frogs in the SSSI. Also, there would be measures to control site run-offs.

16. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, Mr. C W Lai confirmed that there was no plan to establish a marine park off the coast of Tai O.

17. In response to the Chairman's question on whether the Tung Wan option was an acceptable option, two Members replied in the affirmative subject to the satisfactory outcome of the risk assessment being conducted. Other Members also agreed.

Re-use of treated effluent

18. The Chairman noted that ways to re-use the treated effluent were not included in the EIA report. He stressed that the Subcommittee considered it a golden opportunity for the Administration to demonstrate commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development by putting treated wastewater to useful purposes.

19. Mr. Cheung informed Members that a working group comprised of relevant bureaux and departments and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) had been formed to look into different ways of re-using the treated effluent. At the moment, the most promising options were flushing and irrigation. Mr. W P Yu supplemented that the MTRC was interested in using the treated effluents for the Cable Car project but the feasibility of the idea and other details had yet to be developed.

20. In response to a Member's enquiry, Mr. K W Mak said that flushing would take up about 200m3 to 400m3 per day. Irrigation was another possible usage but would require further investigation.

21. Noting that there would be a mangrove re-planting proposal at the Tai O salt plan, a Member suggested that the treated effluent, if not re-used as proposed, could be discharged to the salt pan to facilitate the growth of mangrove. Another Member echoed the Member's suggestion and said that the organics in the effluent were beneficial for the growth of mangrove. In response, Mr. Mak said that the mangrove re-planting proposal was not confirmed yet but they would take note of the suggestion. Another Member pointed out that the mangrove re-planting proposal was a compensation measure for the Chek Lap Kok airport and hence should be realized in due course. Nonetheless, the proposal which might trespass private land and affect the ecology of the Leung Uk should require further consideration.

22. A Member reminded the project proponent not to over-design the capacity of the pipeline if the treated effluent was to be re-used. In response, Mr. Y W Yeung assured Members that the proposed size of the pipeline was already the minimum and there was little scope of further reduction.

Conclusion

23. The Chairman concluded that both the Tai O and Tung Wan options were environmentally acceptable but the Tung Wan option was preferred provided that the results of the assessments on risk and water quality were acceptable.

24. In response to the Chairman's question, Mr. Cheung said that if the Tai O option was to be adopted, the proponent would have no objection to discharging part of the treated effluent to the Tai O saltpans on the understanding that it would not delay the project and subject to no adverse impact to the ecology of Leung Uk Marsh and the sorting out of the land issue.

Agenda Item 4 : Shenzhen Western Corridor
(ACE-EIA Paper 17/2002)

25. A Member declared interest as World Wide Fund For Nature (Hong Kong) was the manager of Mai Po Reserve.

26. A Member said that although the data shown in the EIA report clearly indicated that the project would bring degradation to the environment and hence affect health and quality of living, it still complied with the requirements set out in the EIA Ordinance. While he understood that the proponent of a single project should not be held responsible for the overall deterioration of the environment, he considered it the duty of the Council, as an advisory body to the government, to bring the matter, particularly the accumulated impacts of infrastructural projects on the environment to the Bureau's attention. Having regard to the public concern on the very high level air pollution index recorded in the past few weeks, he was also uncomfortable about the limitation of the existing EIA mechanism in identifying the adverse impact of designated road projects on air quality.

27. Another Member recalled that the Territory Development Strategy Review (TDSR) in 1998 indicated that the Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) could not be met with the planned infra-structural projects in place. The Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3) also confirmed that point. She was puzzled why the EIA report of the Shenzhen Western Corridor (SWC) showed compliance of AQOs.




DSD

28. The Chairman suggested alerting the Bureau Secretary of the deteriorating environmental conditions and inviting the parties concerned to update the Council on CTS-3 and the present transport strategy. Secretariat

29. A Member suggested including the project as an item for discussion if the Council had a chance to visit the Shenzhen authority.

[The project proponent team joined the meeting at this juncture.]

30. The Chairman welcomed the project proponent team led by Mr. Paul Tang. Mr. Doug McLearie and Mr. Tom Dahmer then briefed Members on the EIA findings and the proposed mitigations.

31. In response to a Member's enquiry, Mr. S Y Chan said that the width of the navigation channel on the Hong Kong side was designed for 1,000 ton ferries. As for the Shenzhen side, it had no plan to build a ferry terminal at the moment.

EIA Process

32. The Chairman said that some Members were uncomfortable about the separate submission of the EIA reports on Deep Bay Link (DBL) and SWC despite the fact that they were linked projects. Also, since Shenzhen and Hong Kong shared the same ecosystem in Deep Bay, it would be reasonable to assess the impacts arising from the project on both sides under one EIA. There was previously the precedent of a joint EIA for the Shenzhen River Regulation Programme.

33. In response to Members' concerns, Mr. Paul Tang said that the consultation on the EIA report on DBL had to start first because this project had a tighter programme due to land resumption matters. However, the impacts arising from DBL and SWC projects had been taken into account in both EIAs. As regard the issue of separate EIAs, the Shenzhen River Regulation Programme and the present project were different. The current submission had taken into account the cumulative impact of the whole SWC project including the Shenzhen portion and other planned development affecting the study area. Although the two sides worked independently on the EIA report, they proceeded in close cooperation and regular liaison with a common objective to implement an environmentally friendly project. The cooperation and the interface with the Shenzhen side during the planning stage would continue during the construction and operation phases.



DSD

Sighting of the EIA report of the Shenzhen side

34. A Member asked if Members could have sight of the EIA report of the Shenzhen side. In response, Mr. Adrian Ng said that it was not the normal practice of the Shenzhen government to release EIA reports for public inspection. Nonetheless, the Shenzhen side had agreed to make available a copy of the Executive Summary of the EIA report for sighting by interested parties in Hong Kong. The project proponent would follow up with the Subcommittee in due course. Clearance of oyster bed 35. In response to a Member's question, Mr. Dahmer said that the oyster bed would be cleared manually and no adverse impact was predicted. As to whether activities of oyster farming and fishing would be restricted in that area, Mr. Alex Kong indicated that the land in question would be resumed as government land and the tenancy of oyster farming would terminate at the end of 2002 and would not be renewed.

Impact on birds during construction phase

36. A Member asked whether there was any evidence to support the tolerance of the birds during the construction phase. In response, Mr. Dahmer quoted the example of Black-faced Spoonbills at the Lotus Bridge and Coloane-Taipa reclamation in Macau and said that about 10 to 13 Black-faced Spoonbills were recorded annually before the construction of the bridge and the reclamation. The population number remained steady throughout the construction period and then shot up to about 39 to 42 in the last two years after the bridge was built. This example demonstrates that numbers of Black-faced Spoonbills wintering at Macau did not decline in response to construction of the Lotus Bridge. In addition, there were a number of human activities in that area such as the operation of a landfill adjacent to the foraging site of the birds, yet the birds did not seem to react to those disturbances.

Traffic Management

38. A Member asked about the traffic management measures for SWC to prevent congestion. In response, Mr. Tang said that both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen checkpoints would be on the Shenzhen side where there were sufficient vehicle holding areas and queuing spaces. The congestion now experienced in the three boundary crossings would not exist in the foreseeable future. There would be sufficient capacity to accommodate traffic flow coming out of SWC in the near term. For example, the Yuen Long Highway would be widened to meet the increased traffic demand. In the longer term, other projects such as Route 10 and Tuen Mun By-pass were under planning to meet the traffic demand after 2011. The overall traffic demand would be reviewed annually to determine the pace of the development of road projects under planning.

Joint Environmental Monitoring & Audit

40. A Member was concerned over the difference in the baseline adopted by both sides for monitoring purpose and whether a mechanism would be in place to resolve disputes over mitigation liability. In response, Mr. Adrian Ng said that the two sides would carry out EM&A work according to their respective standards and requirements. In the event that joint actions were required, the two sides would work through the liaison channel to discuss how to implement those actions. So far, no arbitration system was in place to resolve disputes. However, if deemed necessary, they would discuss with the Shenzhen side on this subject.

[The Chairman adjourned the meeting at this juncture for an internal discussion.]

Lighting design of the bridge

41. Noting that appropriate lighting for the bridge could reduce bird collision, a Member stressed the need to avoid excessive lighting. In response, Mr. Kong said that there was no intention to light up the bridge in a prominent way and the detailed design had yet to be drawn up. Mr. Dahmer added that lighting designs would make reference to international guidelines that were written to reduce potential for avian motality.

Future management of the bridge

42. In response to a Member's query on the future management of the bridge, Mr. Adrian Ng said that whether the bridge would be managed by one or two parties would not affect the consistency and uniformity of management, and both sides would adopt the higher of the standards. Mr. Paul Tang supplemented that the bridge would be managed by the two sides within their own boundary with perhaps the same management company working for them. There would be close communications between the two sides to ensure that the bridge would be well managed.

Impact on water quality

43. In response to a Member's enquiries, Mr. Kong confirmed that the water quality assessment had taken into consideration the accumulative impacts of projects and activities like reclamation and explosion.

Sedimentation monitoring 44. In response to a Member's questions, Mr. K L Pun said that the predicted baseline modeling results for sedimentation rates were compared with field data from the Shenzhen River Regulation Programme. Since the modeling results showed a very small increase in sedimentation level after the completion of the project, EIA report did not propose any monitoring.

45. The Chairman said that there was much concern about sedimentation at Deep Bay. He asked whether the proponent could carry out monitoring so as to prove that the project would not cause sedimentation problem to the Deep Bay area which was ecologically sensitive. In response, Mr. McLearie said that the modeling predicted an increase of 0.5 mm/year after completion of the project as compared with the current sedimentation rate of 16 to 28mm/year. It would be hard to detect the difference even if monitoring was in place. Both Mr. Pun and Mrs. Shirley Lee pointed out that apart from the slight predicted increase, the changes of the level could be due to factors other than the project itself. Having regard to Members' concern, Mr. Tang said that they had no objection to carrying out monitoring during the construction stage.

46. A Member said that since the ecosystem at Deep Bay was dynamic and sensitive to changes, monitoring during the operation stage was also important. Another Member suggested the proponent monitor the sedimentation level of the whole Deep Bay area for a period of time after the completion of the project and compare the data with that of the previous year. Mr. Tang agreed on a one-year monitoring of the sedimentation level after the bridge had been put into operation.

Conclusion

47. The Chairman concluded that the Subcommittee would recommend the report to the Council for endorsement with the following proposed conditions:
 

  1. the project proponent should monitor the sedimentation rate at Deep Bay during the construction phase of the project and for one year after the bridge had been put into operation;
  2. the project proponent should regularly brief the Subcommittee on the progress of the environmental management of the project such as joint EM&A with the Mainland and lighting; and
  3. before the project commenced operation the project proponent should provide to the Subcommittee a detailed emergency response plan on how to deal with incidents happening on either side of the bridge.

48. The Chairman said that the Subcommittee would follow-up separately with the Policy Bureau on points raised in paragraphs 26-28 above.

Agenda Item 5 : Any Other Business

49. There was no other business.

Agenda Item 6 : Date of Next Meeting

50. The next meeting was scheduled for 4 November 2002.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
October 2002

 




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