Environment Protection  DepartmentThe Operation of Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance in Hong Kong
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The Path to Environmental Impact Assessment in Hong Kong

Content > History and Development of Environmental Impact Assessment in Hong Kong > Timeline


The following timeline illustrates the progression of developments that led to the passing of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance in 1997:


The Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) is established within the Environmental Branch to develop policy and formulate legislation on environmental protection.

The creation of an Environmental Impact Statement Ordinance is recommended by a Hong Kong Government commissioned study. The Ordinance would require that certain categories of development projects be subject to environmental impact statements.

1981 Separation of the Environmental Policy Unit from the Government Secretariat to form the Environmental Protection Agency.
1985 A chapter on the environment is added to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG). It sets out guidance for the incorporation of environmental consideration into the planning and execution of major development activities in Hong Kong.
1986 A Hong Kong Government circular is issued on the Environmental Review of major public sector development projects - an early form of Environmental Impact Assessment.

The Hong Kong Government circular on Environmental Review is revised to establish a link between the public works programme and the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

Introduction of requirements in land title documents for submission of environmental studies to EPD.

1989 Publication of policy objectives for environmental planning and assessment in the white paper on " Pollution in Hong Kong - A Time to Act".

An administrative arrangement is reached with the Hong Kong Industrial Estate Association to establish EIA applications for the first time for its development within Hong Kong Industrial Estate.

Publication of the EPD Advice Notes 1/90 & 2/90, setting out the EIA process for major private sectors projects.


A requirement is introduced to include an Environmental Implications Paragraph in all public works, as well as in all Sub-Committee and Finance Committee papers.

The Hong Kong Government Circular is revised to standardise EIA procedures incorporating more detailed assessment procedures and follow-up monitoring and auditing requirements to implement recommended measures in EIA reports.

Issuing of a circular on public access to EIA reports (PELB GC 2/92)


The advisory role of the Environmental Pollution Advisory Committee is expanded from covering only pollution control to considering the overall sustainability of the environment. It is renamed the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE), with its designated "EIA Subcommittee" to focus on EIA issues.

Revision of the circular on public access to the EIA reports (PELB GC 2/94)


Provisions for a strategic environmental assessment with environmental sustainability analysis are introduced in the Territorial Development Strategy Review.

The EIA Bill was supported by the ACE.


Endorsement of the overall framework of the EIA Bill by the ACE and the joint Environmental Affairs/ Lands and Works Panels of Legislative Council.

The EIA Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council.

1997 The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) enacted.

The EIA Ordinance goes into effect on 1st April.

"A Guide to the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance" is published and distributed freely to the public.

A designated EIA Ordinance website is commissioned to release EIA information.

An EIA Ordinance Register Office is opened for the public to inspect EIA Ordinance information and applications.

Issuing of a circular on procedure of EIA of development and proposed projects (PELB TC 10/98)


A review on the operation of the EIA Ordinance is conducted and a continuous improvement strategy is adopted to enhance the process.

Presentations on the EIA Ordinance to 18 District Boards and/or their environmental committees to encourage an open and transparent EIA process.

Enactment of EIAO (amendment of Schedule 2) Order 1999 for inclusion of theme parks or amusement parks with a site area of more than 20 ha as size as designated projects.


Bilingual project profiles is required for all new applications to enhance accessibility for the Chinese community.

Setting up of various EIA Ordinance Liaison Group for government, private/public corporate users and consultants.


Require the most recent environmental monitoring and audit data of major projects to be accessible in the EIA Ordinance Homepage.

Accepting public comments via E-mail through EIA Ordinance Homepage.

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