Guidance notes

A Guide to the EIA Ordinance

9. Fees

The fees for different applications are prescribed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (Fees) Regulation and summarised in the notes attached to the application forms.

All fees should be paid by cheques payable to the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. No fee should be payable by any Government department which does not operate under a trading fund within the meaning of the Trading Funds Ordinance.

10. Liaison through the Environmental Study Management Group during the environmental impact assessment study

The setting up of the Environmental Study Management Group is not a statutory requirement. Upon the request of the applicant, the Environmental Study Management Group meetings may be convened by the Director to provide a forum for liaison with the applicant and his/her consultants during the EIA study. Relevant authorities within the Government may be invited to attend.

Such meetings, if convened before the formal submissions of EIA reports under the Ordinance, are to be conducted only on an administrative, advisory basis. The discussions and liaison at the meeting will not in any case absorb the responsibilities of the applicants laid down in the Ordinance. Any formal submissions by the applicants under the Ordinance will be handled in accordance with the procedures and requirements in the Ordinance and the Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process.

The priority of the Director and other relevant authorities would necessarily be given to those applications or reports submitted under the Ordinance.

11. Offences and penalties

A person who constructs or operates a designated project listed in Part I of Schedule 2 or decommission a designated project listed in Part II of Schedule 2, either without an environmental permit for the project or contrary to the environmental permit conditions, commits an offence under section 26(1).

A person for whom the project is constructed, operated or decommissioned and who permits the carrying out of the project without an environmental permit or contrary to the environment permit conditions, is also liable under section 26(4) of the Ordinance, subject to a due diligence defence.

It is also an offence under section 26(6) of the Ordinance to separate contiguous projects, which collectively qualify as a designated project, in order to avoid the purposes of the Ordinance.

A director of body corporate may also be liable under section 29 of the Ordinance if it is proved that the offence is committed with his or her consent or due to his/her negligence.

The maximum penalties for the above offences are as follows:

(a) first offence: maximum fine of $2 million and maximum imprisonment of 6 months;

(b) second offence: maximum fine of $5 million and maximum imprisonment of 2 years; and

(c) continuing offence: maximum fine of $10,000 per day.

There are provisions in the Ordinance for the Director, with the consent of the Secretary for the Environment, to issue a cessation order, to require remedial works to be undertaken, to take direct action to remedy environmental damage, and to recover costs from those who are liable.

12. Appeals

If the applicant is aggrieved by a decision of the Director on matters listed in section 17(1) of the Ordinance, he may appeal by lodging a notice of appeal in the prescribed form to the Appeal Board in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (Appeal Board) Regulation within 30 days of receipt of the notice of the decision. The forms for appeal can be obtained from the EIA Ordinance Register Office.

The Appeal Board is to be chaired by a person who is qualified for appointment as a District Judge. The Appeal Board may confirm, reverse or vary the decisions made by the Director. The contents of the Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process will not be called into question in an appeal.