Planning of the Spur Line linking the existing KCRC East Rail at Sheung Shui with the proposed Shenzhen Metro system at Huanggang Station, opposite Lok Ma Chau, has taken place over a 10 year period. The new railway is needed to provide for the rapidly expanding demand for cross boundary passenger movement between the SAR and Shenzhen. The Spur Line proposal was presented in the Railway Development Strategy in May 1993.


In 1998, a Preliminary Project Feasibility Study (PPFS) evaluated the engineering and environmental feasibility of the potential routes linking the two rail systems. The PPFS considered at grade, tunnel and viaduct routes across the ecologically sensitive Long Valley. The horizontal rail alignment at Lok Ma Chau proposed in 1993 was amended to meet environmental constraints, doubling up with the existing transport corridor for the Lok Ma Chau Road crossing and minimising the impacts on the fishponds within the newly designated Wetland Conservation Area (WCA).


A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study was undertaken from May 1999 to June 2000 recognising the Spur Line as a designated project under the new EIA Ordinance. The EIA reviewed the development of a feasible rail alignment with environmental, engineering and railway design constraints being considered. These requirements defined the route across the ecologically sensitive area of Long Valley. The viaduct proved to be the most effective option for Long Valley and an ecological compensation scheme was devised to overcome the potential adverse construction and operational impacts. The EIA also identified and quantified all the other potential environmental impacts of the railway proposal and formulated suitable mitigation measures, where necessary.


The EIA was confirmed to have met the requirements of the Technical Memorandum of the EIAO and passed into the statutory public consultation phase. Subsequently as a consequence of the findings of the consultation process, which included issues of alternative alignments and uncertainties as to the potential for success of the ecological compensation measures, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP), declined to approve the EIA report or award an Environmental Permit.


KCRC followed the Appeal provisions enshrined in the EIAO and the Appeal Board heard the case in April 2001.   The Appeal Board judgement in July 2001 upheld the DEP’s decisions not to approve the EIA report and not to issue an Environmental Permit.


However, the Appeal Board judgement recognised that it was Government policy to implement the Spur Line and concluded, that after all the evidence had been presented, only three options could be considered as being viable alternatives for the Spur Line:


·        The viaduct as proposed;

·        The bored tunnel on the same alignment; and

·        The Northern Link


The Appeal Board further noted that the Northern Link would require a major change in government policy rendering it outside any useful consideration for the Appeal. Two options thus remained.


In line with other recommendations made in the Appeal judgement, KCRC have had extensive consultations with AFCD and EPD on the way forward for the Spur Line project.  Uncertainties about the sufficiency of information to ensure an effective ecological compensation design and management strategy, and the time required to address these doubts, favours selection of a tunnel below Long Valley, rather than viaduct so as to avoid any ecological impacts.  The principal benefits of the tunnel option are the avoidance of adverse impacts on ecology, visual and landscape features, and the potential benefits to the planning opportunities within the proposed Kwu Tung North New Development Area (NDA).  Following publication of a new Project Profile in September 2001, a new EIAO Study Brief was published on 15th October 2001. The response to this new EIA Brief is the subject of this Report.


The environmental assessment of the tunnel option, as shown in Figure 1, includes: potential hydrological impacts within Long Valley, ecology (particularly at Lok Ma Chau), fisheries, air quality, construction and operational noise, water quality, waste, contaminated land, cultural heritage and landscape and visual impacts.  The western end of the Spur Line alignment, remains unchanged and continues to rise onto viaduct, and terminates at Lok Ma Chau Station Terminus within the Wetland Conservation Area (WCA).





One of the main concerns with regard to tunnelling under Long Valley is the potential for the tunnel to impact the groundwater regime.  Impacts could be through draw down or contamination of the groundwater.  During construction of the tunnel beneath Long Valley, potential impacts on the hydrological regime have been minimized through the use of an Earth Pressure Balance Tunnel Boring Machine (EPB TBM) which balances external pressures at the cutting face, and prevents ingress of groundwater.  Impacts on groundwater quality are minimized through the use of a foam to form a paste for spoil extraction.  The foam is non-toxic and readily biodegradable and therefore causes no adverse environmental impact. Groundwater levels and surface settlement will be intensively monitored as the TBM passes, and action and contingency plans have been prepared for implementation if necessary.


The vertical profile of the tunnel has been designed to be well below the main alluvial aquifer of the valley.  The permanent presence of the tunnel will therefore have minimal impact on the groundwater regime within Long Valley, as demonstrated through modelling of the current and future groundwater flows.  Monitoring of groundwater levels within Long Valley has shown that tidal influences are considerably greater than predicted impacts from the presence of the tunnel.





The placement of the Spur Line in tunnel below Long Valley totally eliminates ecological impacts to this ecologically sensitive area and thus negates the need for compensation.  Potential disturbance during construction close to Long Valley will be minimized through measures defined for sensitive receivers close to the works.


The main ecological impacts arise from the above ground section of the railway mostly at the Lok Ma Chau Terminus.  Direct habitat loss due to the Terminus construction includes 7.0ha inactive fishponds that are utilized by large waterbirds and 0.4ha active fishponds from works associated with the viaduct. An additional 16.2 ha will be indirectly impacted due to disturbance to the most sensitive waterbirds that use the fishpond area around the future LMC Station and the area adjacent to the viaduct east of the Boundary Crossing.  These impacts of 23.6ha will be compensated for through the early enhancement of fishponds beyond the disturbance zone of the station works, followed by subsequent enhancement of an area of 27.1ha fishponds. . Early enhancement measures will include intensive repeat stocking of fish which will raise the carrying capacity of the stocked ponds for target species of large waterbirds (Black-faced Spoonbill, Great Cormorant, Great Egret and Grey Heron) above that required in the long term, thus compensating for the reduced area of disturbance-free habitat available. The proposed ecological mitigation measures are shown in Figure 2. Enhancement measures include re-profiling of pond bunds to create shallows where steep edges currently deter waterbirds from feeding; careful management of water levels to maximize feeding opportunities for target species; and stocking with a suitable size and type of fish. 


In addition, to reduce disturbance during operation of the railway, a marsh area will be created within 100m of the station building, and stands of bamboo and mixed trees and shrubs will be planted as a buffer around the station complex.  An additional 5 ha to the east of the station will be used as a reedbed for polishing effluent from the station sewage treatment works and provide additional areas of marsh and deep water for habitat diversity.


The ecological compensation proposed for the Spur Line project is unique in Hong Kong in its consideration of habitat loss and disturbance impacts, and provision for early compensation of construction impacts in the Lok Ma Chau fishponds area. This approach allows a mechanism for the long term protection and management of Hong Kong’s ecological resources.





Along the viaduct section of the alignment, several currently actively managed fishponds will be taken out of production during construction, and reinstated thereafter.  The small permanent loss of 0.4ha represents a minimal impact on fisheries production within the Study Area.  A temporary impact of less then 1.0ha to form a working area within 4 ponds beneath the viaduct represents a minimal impact.  The ponds will be reinstated after construction.  0.1ha of fishpond at Chau Tau will be impacted by the future railway maintenance yard. The 9.1ha of fishponds at Lok Ma Chau that will be impacted due to the station construction are currently inactive due to preparation of clearance-related procedures initiated by the government in November 2000.  The proposed ecological compensation scheme for impacts at Lok Ma Chau will involve fishpond management designed for wildlife.  KCRC will manage the site using traditional techniques to enhance the value of the area for waterbirds that currently utilize the area.



Air Quality


Potential impacts on air quality resulting from excavation of large volumes of waste material from the bored tunnelling will be minimized through regular removal of the relatively moist spoil. With the implementation of the recommended dust suppression measures and backed up by a properly designed EM&A programme, the construction of Spur Line is expected to comply with Air Quality Objectives.  Air quality impacts arising from the operational phase of the Spur Line are not of concern as limited potential emission sources have been identified.





Potential construction noise impact is predicted at most of the Representative Noise Sensitive Receivers along the Spur Line alignment. However, by a combination of direct technical measures, such as re-considering construction programme, reducing the number of construction equipment, using silenced models, and constructing site specific temporary noise barriers, no residual construction noise impact is expected.


Operational noise has been eliminated by placing the Spur Line in tunnel between Sheung Shui and Chau Tau.  The main source of noise at Sheung Shui is the turnouts required as the Spur Line diverges from the existing East Rail. Mitigation to achieve acceptable noise levels involves erection of absorptive cantilever type and absorptive vertical noise barriers adjacent to the turnouts.


Within the tunnel section, Low Vibration Track (LVT) will be used to minimize transmission of vibration to the surrounding ground.  Within the future Kwu Tung North New Development Area, Floating Slab Track (FST) will be used to allow for potential development above and alongside the proposed Kwu Tung Station and tunnels.


Several low rise sensitive receivers which are located close to the viaduct section of the Spur Line will experience unacceptable night-time noise levels in the absence of appropriate mitigation. Mitigation will include a reduction in train speed during the night time period, in additional to the standard measures of 1.2m parapet wall and Low Vibration Track.



Water Quality


Potential construction impacts on water quality during the construction phase include turbid, nutrient-rich run-off from excavation activities, increased pH and ammonia toxicity from concrete washings (particularly during diaphragm walling and the construction of the footbridge across Shenzhen River), chemical spillage and wastewater generation on site. A well designed and maintained site drainage system, correct handling and disposal of concrete washings and other wastewaters, appropriate control of chemicals, and provision of adequate facilities for site workers will minimize potential impacts during construction.


Potential impacts from moist spoil excavated from the tunnel will be minimized through the use of a treatment plant to reduce turbidity from discharge water. All watercourses in the area are within the Deep Bay Water Control Zone.


Potential operational impacts from the Spur Line railway involve hydraulic and pollution impacts from stormwater run-off from the railway tracks and the trains, hydraulic impacts from the footbridge across Shenzhen River, and pollution from sewage generated at Lok Ma Chau station.


The footbridge design has minimized impacts through appropriate design and location of piers.  Stormwater pollution will be minimized through the incorporation of appropriate pollution control measures such as oil interceptors/sediment traps into the drainage system design for the tunnel, viaduct and station, and regular maintenance of the system. To comply  with EPD’s Zero Discharge Policy (ZDP) requirement that the project should not cause a net increase in pollution load to Deep Bay, a reedbed around Lok Ma Chau Station will be used to polish sewage effluent and to treat a pollution load from the  adjacent river channel, equivalent to the residual pollution load discharged from the development.





A large quantity of construction and demolition materials (totalling approximately 1.2 million m3) will be produced during the construction of the Spur Line, about 90% arising from the bored tunnel and Kwu Tung Station Box excavation.  Most of this material will not be re-useable within the project due to programming constraints and must be disposed of to a designated public filling area.  A proportion of fill material required for Lok Ma Chau Station will be derived from suitable materials otherwise destined for public filling areas and will therefore ensure beneficial re-use as far as possible.  Other waste materials generated during the construction and operation of Spur Line will comprise excavated material, concrete, wood formwork, steel poles, chemical wastes, wheel wash wastes and general refuse. A waste management strategy is described, including methods for recycling or disposal, and responsibilities for implementation and management of the waste management procedure



Contaminated Land


Potentially contaminated land was identified at several locations along the alignment. A Contamination Assessment Plan (CAP) is proposed, which includes excavation of trial pits and boreholes followed by a sampling and analysis programme to determine the type and extent of contamination.  This will be undertaken immediately when possession of the land is granted.  Following the production of the Contamination Assessment Report (CAR), an evaluation of the mitigation measures to be used, including re-use on site, disposal or remediation will be prepared.



Cultural Heritage


Cultural heritage survey has determined that there are no historical buildings, which lie directly on the alignment. An archaeological survey within the study area has not found prehistoric sites that would be impacted. However, it is recommended that precautionary measures be included within the Works, with particular emphasis on the area to the south of Ho Sheung Heung where Sung material was found during survey and the area to be excavated for Kwu Tung Station Box.  Pre-construction testing, in the form of a programme of auger hole testing and test pit excavations, should be undertaken to clarify the status of the areas, and a watching brief should be implemented during excavation. Mitigation in the form of specification of working practices and screening of visual effects is recommended to the historical buildings which face emergency access structures associated with the Spur Line, such as Ho Sheung Heung village which contains notable cultural heritage resources.



Landscape and Visual Character


The proposed use of the tunnel for the eastern section of the Spur Line between Sheung Shui and Chau Tau in tunnel will to a large extent alleviate many of the landscape and visual impacts predicted for the original scheme proposals in this area. However there will be adverse residual landscape and visual impacts associated with the above ground structures for the tunnel, and the western viaduct section and Lok Ma Chau Terminus.  The proposed viaduct section and above ground structures will impact small areas of agricultural land, fishponds and plantation. However on the whole the Spur Line would not have a significant effect on the landscape resources with the loss of some 1,800 trees within the project limit and a further 250 trees to be transplanted. This would leave approximately 1,150 trees retained in situ. The proposed viaduct and terminus will also lead to adverse visual impacts, however a combination of the degraded nature of the existing visual amenity and the implementation of the proposed mitigation measures will largely alleviate these impacts.


The proposed mitigation measures include compensatory and screen planting with woodland areas adjacent to the viaduct columns and the above ground structures (approximately 4 hectares in total). The mitigation also includes the restoration of landscapes disturbed during the construction phase such as the reinstatement of fishpond areas below the viaduct section. In addition to this the visual appearance of the above ground and major engineering structures would be designed to minimise, as far as possible, the landscape and visual impacts. This includes for example the use of muted colours for the facades of the EAP and Ventilation Building, and the design of a visually ‘light’ and graceful, curving alignment for the viaduct section. The above ground structures in the central section of the proposed alignment will be located within the urban milieu of the future Kwu Tung North NDA and so be in context. The proposed noise barrier north of Sheung Shui Station has been designed to blend into the existing urban context of high-rise residential development and commercial premises.


The Lok Ma Chau Terminus has been designed with an organic form in terms of its roof line which will be responsive to the existing landscape and this will be further enhanced through the use of tree planting along the periphery of the station footprint. The structure will also be viewed against the high-rise urban backdrop and will not be a major source of impact. 


Overall the proposed Lok Ma Chau Spur Line proposals would in terms of residual landscape and visual impacts be ‘acceptable with mitigation’.  



Construction Technology


Details of the construction programme, the construction methodologies and an assessment of the extent to which the technologies to be employed are proven technologies are presented. The construction of the Spur Line has been broken down into 12 major elements for permanent works and 3 elements for temporary works.


The component methods for each of the elements, their programme duration and a commentary on previous use of such methods are listed. The methods have been chosen with a view to overcoming the constraints imposed by ground conditions and spatial constraints.  All proposed methods have been successfully used in railway construction in Hong Kong, or have been demonstrated to be successful in the Spur Line area.   For example the techniques used for the construction of the Lok Ma Chau Boundary crossing. In other respects standard construction techniques will be employed.



Land Use


The tunnel alignment of the Spur Line opens up the possibility of re-planning the central area of the Kwu Tung North NDA. Significant planning benefits can be gained depending on the approach taken. Assuming that the main distributor road in Kwu Tung North NDA is retained, benefits of the tunnel alignment include:


·        Enhanced open space provision;

·        Enhanced town centre amenity;

·        Greater pedestrian connectivity; and

·        More freedom in urban design.


The replacement of the previously proposed cutting, at grade and viaduct portions of the Spur Line railway throughout the NDA, offers new and advantageous opportunities in the overall planning of the Kwu Tung North area.



Environmental Monitoring and Audit


Environmental monitoring and audit requirements for the construction phase are described in terms of the monitoring locations, periods of time, frequency and standards against which the monitoring results should be compared to determine compliance. Operational monitoring will be required for the wetland compensation area to determine the success of establishment.  An Implementation Schedule for the works is included in Chapter 15 of the EIA report.




The conclusion of the EIA is that no insurmountable environmental impacts will result from implementation of the Spur Line project.











Ÿ             原來的高架橋建議

Ÿ             在原路線鑽挖隧道

Ÿ             興建北環線














































Ÿ             增加休憩用地

Ÿ             增加市中心康樂設施

Ÿ             改善行人道之間的連繫及

Ÿ             使新市鎮設計有更大的自由度







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