Guidance notes

Assessment of Impact on Sites of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies


  1. The baseline study, when required, should start with a desk-top analysis and collection and collation of extant information. The AMO maintains a list of the known and potential sites of cultural heritage which is being updated from time to time. This list can be consulted at the AMO, or the Environmental Protection Department's EIAO Register Office. However, it should be noted that the list is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is the information contained therein comprehensive, particularly in the case of archaeological sites or cultural features buried underground.

  2. Useful sources of relevant information include the tertiary institutions (e.g. the Hong Kong Collection at the University of Hong Kong Library, Departments of History and Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong), public libraries and archives (e.g. the two Municipal Councils' reference libraries, the Public Records Office), District Offices, District Lands Offices and Land Registries, etc.

  3. Concrete evidence is expected to show that the process described in paragraphs 12 and 13 above has been satisfactorily completed. This should take the form of a detailed inventory of the sites of cultural heritage supported with full description of their cultural significance. The description should contain detailed geographical, historical, archaeological, ethnographical and other cultural data supplemented with detailed plans and photographic records.

  4. A full bibliography and source of the information consulted will certainly assist in the evaluation of the quality of the evidence.

  5. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the project proponent to propose and implement a site evaluation process in areas where information is inadequate, or, when there is high potential that unknown sites of cultural heritage do exist. The site evaluation may be undertaken through remote sensing methods (e.g. aerial photography, resistivity survey, etc.), actual field walking, and/or actual opening up of test pits or trenches to confirm prediction models. Consultation of old maps and old aerial photographs at an early stage to identify old landforms and land use patterns will always help.

  6. When site evaluation is required, an evaluation design and strategy would normally be required detailing the survey method and the sampling rationale to ensure that the end product will meet the requirements of a complete baseline study of the project area.

  7. A person leading and undertaking a ground survey involving search and excavation of antiquities is required to obtain a licence under the A&M Ordinance. For those activities or works involving search and excavation of antiquities, the requirements set out in the A&M Ordinance must be followed and the project proponent should approach the AMO direct on these requirements.