Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499)
(ACE-EIA Paper 1/2002)
Environmental Impact Assessment
Widening of Yuen Long Highway
Between Lam Tei and Shap Pat Heung Interchange
This paper presents the key findings and recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the Widening of Yuen Long Highway between Lam Tei and Shap Pat Heung Interchange (hereafter known as the Project), submitted under section 6(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). The Highways Department (HyD) and their consultants will make a presentation. Comments from the public and ACE will be taken into account by the Director of Environmental Protection when he makes his decision on the approval of EIA report under the EIAO.
2. Members' views are sought on the findings and recommendations of the EIA report.
Need for the Project
3. According to HyD, the section of Yuen Long Highway (YLH) between Lam Tei and Shap Pat Heung Interchange needs to be widened to cope with the anticipated increase in traffic after the opening of the Shenzhen Western Corridor and Deep Bay Link, as well as an increase in traffic due to population increase in the North West New Territories.
Description of the Project
4. The Project is for the widening of a 7-km long section of the existing YLH between Lam Tei and Shap Pat Heung Interchange (Figure 1) from a dual-2 lane to a dual-3 lane carriageway, together with the associated works to interchanges, slip roads and structures. The works will be carried within the reserve of the existing YLH and would not cause disturbance to adjacent area.
5. As the Project involves major extensions or improvements to the existing YLH, which is a district distributor, it is a Designated Project under section A.1, Part I of Schedule 2 of the EIAO.
Specific Environmental Aspects to Highlight
6. The key environmental issues identified for this project are air quality impact, noise impact and visual and landscape impact.
Air Quality Impact
7. With the implementation of dust suppression measures required under the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulations, adverse dust impact due to construction activities is not expected.
8. The EIA report has considered the cumulative effects from major highways in the vicinity of the project including the proposed Route 10, Deep Bay Link and the roads inside the proposed Hung Shui Kiu New Town Development. The EIA report shows that the air sensitive receivers within 500m from the project boundary would not be subjected to any exceedance in the Air Quality Objectives (AQO) during the operation phase.
9. With the use of quiet plant and on-site movable barriers, construction noise can be controlled to within the established noise limit.
10. Some of the existing dwellings and future residential developments along the YLH will be subjected to traffic noise impact from the project due to additional traffic. A package of direct noise mitigation measures, comprising 2m to 6m high roadside vertical barriers and cantilever barriers, has been proposed to ensure the noise criteria under the TM can be met. Upon exhausting all practicable direct noise mitigation measures, residual road traffic noise is expected at an existing elderly home mainly due to the noise from the existing roads. The home however would not be eligible for indirect technical remedies since the noise is mainly from the existing roads.
Visual and Landscape Impacts
11. Visual impact is mainly due to disturbance to the vegetation along the existing embankments of YLH and the introduction of roadside noise barriers. The EIA report has recommended a package of mitigation measure which comprise retaining in-situ some 386 existing trees, transplanting over 100 trees to location within the project limit and replanting approximately 7,800 trees on all filled slopes and areas disturbed by engineering works and the use of transparent material for noise barrier. With the mitigation measures in place, the predicted residual impacts would not be unacceptable.
Environmental Monitoring and Audit (EM&A)
12. An EM&A programme has been proposed in the EM&A Manual submitted together with the EIA report and included a detailed Implementation Schedule. The EM&A requirements will be enforced as Environmental Permit conditions.
13. HyD has made the EIA report, EM&A manual and Executive Summary available for the public to comment under the EIAO on 3 January 2002. Members will be briefed about any comments received from the public at the meeting.
Environmental Assessment and Noise Division
Environmental Protection Department