Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance

Technical Memorandum

Annex 19


1. General

1.1 The Annex describes the commonly adopted approaches and methodologies for assessment of impact on sites of cultural heritage and other environmental issues. The methodologies may vary from case to case, depending on the nature of the issues and the latest development in methods and techniques.

2. Impact on Sites of Cultural Heritage

2.1 There is no quantitative standard in deciding the relative importance of these sites, but in general, sites of unique archaeological, historical or architectural value will be considered as highly significant.

Baseline Study

2.2 A baseline study shall be conducted

  1. to compile an inventory of all known places, buildings, sites and structures of architectural, archaeological and historical value within the proposed project area; and

  2. to identify possible threats of, and their physical extent, destruction in whole or in part of sites of cultural heritage arising from the proposed project.


2.3 The best available information shall be assembled for the assessment of the identified sites of cultural heritage. The entry point shall be the Antiquities and Monuments Office, public libraries and archives and tertiary institutions.

2.4 The assessment shall provide detailed geographical, historical, archaeological, ethnographical and other cultural data. Published papers, records, archival and historical documents as well as oral legends shall also be consulted.

2.5 In cases where the above sources of information prove to be inadequate or where the proposed project area has not been adequately studied before, field surveys and site investigations shall be conducted to assemble the necessary data.

Impact Assessment

2.6 Preservation in totality will be a beneficial impact and will enhance the cultural and socio-economic environment if suitable measures to integrate the sites of cultural heritage into the proposed project are carried out.

2.7 If, due to site constraints and other factors, only preservation in part is possible, this shall be fully justified with alternative proposals or layout designs which confirm the impracticability of total preservation.

2.8 Total destruction shall be taken as the very last resort in all cases and shall only be recommended with a meticulous and careful analysis balancing the interest of preserving the archaeological, historical, architectural and other cultural values as against that of the community as a whole..

Mitigation Measures

2.9 Mitigation measures shall not be recommended or taken as de facto means to avoid conservation and preservation of sites of cultural heritage. They must be proved beyond all possibilities to be the only practical course of action.

2.10 Designs, layouts, external treatments, colour and texture of materials, but not limiting to such, shall be worked out for the integration of the sites of cultural heritage to be preserved in whole or in part into the proposed project.

2.11 For total destruction, a comprehensive and practical rescue plan must be worked out. This is also applicable to sites of cultural heritage where only partial preservation is proposed.

2.12 A practical programme proposal for the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures shall be included as part of the assessment. This shall form an integral part of the overall development programme of the proposed project. Competent professionals or experts must be engaged to design and carry out the mitigation measures.

3. Potential Contaminated Land Issues

3.1 Existence of pollutants on land may be due to natural occurrence or contamination by anthropogenic activities. For all development and redevelopment projects listed under Part I of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3, the applicant who is preparing an EIA report shall give consideration to historical land uses which have the potential to cause or have caused land contamination. Such uses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. oil installations including oil depots and petrol filling stations
  2. gas works for production of flammable or fuel gas from fossil fuel
  3. power plants
  4. shipyards/boatyards
  5. chemical manufacturing/processing plants
  6. steel mills/metal workshops
  7. car repairing and dismantling workshops
  8. municipal solid waste dumping ground and landfill

3.1.1 If the above land uses are identified, the applicant shall conduct a site appraisal to identify the potential contamination sources that may have impacted the site. If potential land contamination sources are identified at the site, the applicant shall plan and conduct site investigation for contamination assessment, and then compile a Contamination Assessment Report (CAR) revealing the site investigation findings for the Director's review. During the preparation of the CAR, if land contamination due to anthropogenic activities is confirmed, a Remediation Action Plan (RAP) shall be prepared. The CAR and RAP can be submitted as a combined report to the Director for endorsement.

3.1.2 The applicant shall, prior to any development or redevelopment of the site, follow the endorsed RAP to remediate the contaminated site by means of the “Source-Pathway-Receptor Paradigm” by adopting one or a combination of the following control methods:

  • Source control: remove or contain the source(s) of contamination by soil extraction or excavation followed by adequate treatment/ disposal; or modify the source(s) of contamination by using bioremediation, extraction, solidification, immobilization or other proven soil treatment methods, to remove or immobilize the contaminants or prevent any further release of contaminants to the environment. 
  • Pathway control: inhibit or control the potential pathways by proper capping the source(s) of contamination by soil or concrete slabs or by the use of membranes or solidification, etc., to prevent migration of contaminants, to reduce the ability of the contaminant source(s) from posing a threat to receptors. 
  • Receptor control: alter the likelihood of receptors coming into contact with the contaminants by changing the site layout or by preventing receptors’ accessibility to the contaminated areas.

3.1.3 For contaminations due to natural occurrence such as arsenic, the applicant shall consider pathway or receptor control instead of source control to minimize secondary contamination or generation of significant amount of waste due to cleaning up of the naturally occurring materials.

3.1.4 Upon completion of remediation, a Remediation Report (RR) shall be prepared and submitted to the Director for endorsement.

3.1.5 The land contamination assessment and remediation, including the planning and implementation of site investigation, preparation and submission of various deliverables including CAR, RAP and RR, etc. shall be pursued in accordance with relevant guidelines issued by the Director. If the project site is not available during the EIA stage, the EIA report may be approved with condition(s), for example, that the land contamination assessment submissions will be made after the site is resumed or made accessible for the required investigation and assessment.

3.2 For all decommissioning projects under Part II of Schedule 2, the above requirements apply regardless of the historical land use.

3.3 For development or re-development projects adjacent to landfill, the applicant shall note the following additional specific requirements when the need for a landfill gas (LFG) hazard assessment is confirmed:

  1. carry out a LFG hazard assessment to evaluate the degree of risk associated with the proposed development;
  2. design suitable precautionary/protection measures to render the proposed development as safe as reasonably practicable;
  3. ensure that the precautionary/protection measures will be implemented and constructed in accordance with the design;
  4. establish a maintenance and monitoring programme for ensuring the continued performance of the implemented protection measures.

The LFG hazard assessment shall be carried out and completed for submission to the Director for vetting at the early planning stage of the project. The early completion of the assessment study will ensure that the identified protection measures be considered and incorporated in to the overall design process for the proposed development.