1.1 Background of the Project
In July 1992 the findings of the West Kowloon Planning and Urban Design Study were published. The main purpose of that Study was to develop an Outline Development Plan to guide the development and reclamation for the area up to the year 2011. The West Kowloon Reclamation covers an area of approximately 428 hectares of which around 100 hectares has been formed through reclamation of Victoria Harbour. West Kowloon Reclamation was one of the Airport Core Projects and was conceived to provide a strategic connection with access between the urban area and the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.
An integral component of the West Kowloon Planning and Urban Study was the Environmental Impact Assessment. The main conclusions of that EIA were that the generation of significant noise and air pollution from the West Kowloon Expressway placed major constraints on the extent to which the remaining land area could be used. A comprehensive package of mitigation measures were proposed and carried forward into detailed design in order to achieve the standards set in Chapter 9 of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (the prevailing standards of the time).
Detailed design of the West Kowloon Reclamation and the associated infrastructure has taken place over the last decade and the miitgation measures proposed to reduce noise and air pollution have been incorporated into the implementation packages. Account has been taken of the changes in legislative control, design standards, population targets and planning parameters. These changes have necessitated various reviews of the findings of the West Kowloon Reclamation Planning and Urban Design Study and required the necessary changes to the detailed design.
In addition to the foregoing, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted and approved before the EIA Ordinance was effected. This implies that any material changes to the design now need to be assessed in accordance with the requirements of the EIAO.
Accordingly the current Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Study Brief which was issued on 25th April 2000, reference No. PP-078/2000) under Section 5(1) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO).
The purpose of this EIA Study is to provide information on the nature and extent of the environmental impacts which could arise from the construction and operation of this Project and any related activities, such as Route 9, which may be scheduled to take place concurrently. Consequently the information was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Study Brief and will contribute to the decision of the Director of Environmental Protection on :
· “The overall acceptability of any adverse environmental consequences that are likely to arise as a result of the proposed project;
· The conditions and requirements for the detailed design, construction and operation of the proposed project to mitigate adverse environmental consequences wherever practicable; and
· The acceptability of residual impacts after the proposed mitigation measures are implemented.”
The Project is for the construction of two link roads in the West Kowloon Reclamation Area as shown on Figure 1.1. The project is a Designated Project under Schedule 2, A.1 of the EIAO viz : “A road which is an expressway, trunk road, primary distributor or district distributor road including new roads, and major extensions or improvements to existing roads”.
1.2 The Approach
The EIAR identifies sensitive receivers (SRs) within the Study Area, defines environmental parameters and features likely to be affected by the Project and sets out the criteria to be achieved. The mitigation measures which are necessary to ensure compliance with the relevant standards and criteria, as recommended by the Technical Memorandum (TM) to the EIAO have been defined along with any environmental monitoring and audit (EM&A) requirements.
Specifically the purpose of the EIA is to define the extent of environmental impacts associated with the construction and implementation of the Project. The EIA Study has followed the requirements of the TM and the specific requirements detailed in the aforementioned Study Brief.
The EIA Report has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Study Brief, ref ESB 048/2000, and Annex 11 of the Technical Memorandum to the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). Accordingly the descriptions of the environmental legislation, regulations and standards, background conditions, assessment procedures and assessment results for air quality impacts, noise impacts and waste management are described in self contained sections to this Report.
Consideration has also been given to any other environmental aspects which may require assessment under this EIA and it has been concluded that all relevant aspects were covered by the requirements of the Study Brief. Therefore no consideration has been given to assessing the impacts of the Link Roads G & L on ecology, landscaping, cultural heritage and water quality as these are minor issues in the context of this Project which have been fully addressed in overall terms in the West Kowloon Reclamation Urban Design and Planning Study 1992 and subsequently in the West Kowloon Reclamation Comprehensive Traffic Analysis Review & Environmental Impact Assessment Report, July 1997.
The conclusions of the West Kowloon Reclamation Comprehensive Traffic Analysis Review and Environmental Impact Assessment Report concluded that the noise impact of the West Kowloon Expressway on Mei Foo and the increased traffic on the nearby roads is likely to bring about exceedances in noise levels at points C and D (i.e. Phase 8, Blocks 112 and 128) (10% all development) of about 4dB(A).
Mitigation measures for attenuation of vehicle related noise impacts which were however recommended were :
· Noise barriers (90% compliance with noise criteria)
· Low noise road surface (90% compliance with noise criteria)
· Acoustic windows (100% compliance with noise criteria)
For the air quality assessments, the AQO are not predicted to be exceeded at the sensitive receivers in Mei Foo Sun Chuen due to the environmental set-back from the West Kowloon Expressway although roadside concentration in this area will exceed the AQO due to the high proportion of heavy diesel fuelled vehicles. No further mitigation measures were proposed for the protection of air quality, in the current context, in the approved EIA Report.
1.3 Objectives of the EIA
The specific objectives of the EIA study, as given in the Study Brief, are :
(i) to describe the proposed project and associated works together with the requirements for carrying out the proposed project;
(ii) to identify and describe the elements of the community and environment likely to be affected by the proposed project and/or likely to cause adverse impacts to the proposed project, including both the natural and man-made environment;
(iii) to identify and quantify emission sources and determine the significance of impacts on sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
(iv) to propose the provision of infrastructure or mitigation measures so as to minimize pollution, environment disturbance and nuisance during construction and operation of the project;
(v) to identify, predict and evaluate the residual (i.e. after practicable mitigation) environmental impacts and the cumulative effects expected to arise during the construction and operation phases of the project in relation to the sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
(vi) to identify, assesses and specify methods, measures and standards, to be included in the detailed design, construction and operation of the project which are necessary to mitigate these environmental impacts and to reduce them to acceptable levels;
(vii) to investigate the extent of side-effects of proposed mitigation measures that may lead to other forms of impacts;
(viii) to identify constraints associated with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIA study;
(ix) to design and specify the environmental monitoring and audit requirements, if required, to ensure the implementation and the effectiveness of the environmental protection and pollution control measures adopted; and
(x) to identify, within the study area, any individual project(s) that fall under Schedule 2 of the EIA Ordinance; to ascertain whether the findings of this EIA study have adequately addressed the environmental impacts of those projects; and where necessary, to identify the outstanding issues that need to be addressed in any further detailed EIA studies.
1.4 EIA Study Area
For the purposes of this EIA the boundary of the Study Area for the air quality assessment is defined by a distance of 500m from the boundary of the project area. For the noise impact assessment all potentially affected sensitive receivers within 300m of the project boundary have been assessed.
1.5 Arrangement of the EIA Report
The EIA Report details the methods of assessment, the findings and mitigation measures as well as the details of monitoring and audit requirements to be undertaken during and following construction. These details are provided in the following sections :
· Section 2 – Description of the project
· Section 3 – Air Quality Impact Assessment
· Section 4 – Noise Impact
· Section 5 – Waste Management
· Section 6 – Monitoring and Audit Requirements
· Section 7 – Conclusions and Recommendations
· Section 8 – Implementation Schedule