Environment Protection  DepartmentThe Operation of Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance in Hong Kong
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Follow-up and Enforcement

Content > Seeing It Through To The End > EIA Follow Up > Enforcing the Ordinance on a Territory-wide Basis > Enforcement Figures and Prosecution

EIA Follow Up

Within the framework of environmental permit conditions, there are generally three areas of requirement provided for the continuation of EIA follow up.

1. Review of Detailed Design and Management Plan

At the time an environmental impact assessment is conducted, projects are often at the conceptual or feasibility stages. Often the detailed design of the project is not yet available. Some detailed designs can include mitigation measures such as placement of acoustic barriers, contaminated waste treatment, landscaping measures in addition to the temporary structures needed for construction of the project. A management plan also covers environmental issues during the construction stage of the project such as construction waste, ecological preservation or construction plants.

To preempt any deviation from EIA recommendations and findings, the Director requires both the detailed design and management plan to be submitted to follow up.

2. Environmental Monitoring and Audit (EM&A)Program

Since its pioneering use in the Airport Core Projects from 1992, the fundamental role of the EM&A program for following through on EIA study recommendations was further enhanced by the Ordinance when it became a statutory requirement. These requirements are often found in the form of an EM&A manual accompanying the EIA report and are stipulated in the subsequent environment permit when issued.

Environmental monitoring involves a systematic collection of data, for the purpose of determining the baseline, impact and compliance of the project. Environmental auditing comprises the audit of mitigation measures, design changes and compliance against legislative requirements and standards.

Although the parameters or impacts to be monitored are highly project specific and variable with different stages of a project, monitoring data are compared against trend indicators comprising on "action level" and "limit level" of environmental quality performance limits. Should monitoring results go beyond these limits, action will be taken according to the action plan set for these limits.

With regular reporting requirements from the monitoring program stipulated in every environmental permit, both identified mitigation measures and unanticipated severe impacts of the project can be more closely followed.

If any of the EM&A requirements are violated, a warning may be issued or prosecution actions taken against the project proponent and permit holders.

3. Submission of Certified Reports on Mitigation Measures Implemented -Use of Independent Environmental Checkers (IEC)

The provision of project information is primarily the responsibility of the permit holder's environmental team. To avoid any bias due to conflict of interest, which may affect the reliability of the information submitted to the Director of Environmental Protection, another tier of checking is introduced into the system in the form of the Independent Environmental Checker (IEC).

Under this arrangement, project proponents are required to employ an IEC to audit the monitoring by the permit holder or his agent. The IEC will also check and certify reports on the status of the implementation and completion of mitigation measures as recommended in the EIA report.

As an additional measure of quality control, the qualification of the environmental team leader and IEC are also specified in every environmental permit.

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