3                    Legislative Requirements


3.1                Introduction


This Section of the report describes the relevant legislation and associated guidelines that are applicable to the evaluation of impacts associated with the Project.  All of the relevant legislation, criteria or guidelines are those proposed and adopted or accepted by the Hong Kong SAR Government.  The standards and guidelines set out below are in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499. S.16) and the associated Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIAO-TM).


It should be noted that the proposed operations are no different to those currently in practice at the East of Sha Chau CMP IV facility which are in accordance to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) to which Hong Kong is a signatory through the People’s Republic of China.


3.2    Water Quality


The following relevant pieces of legislation and associated guidance are applicable to the evaluation of water quality impacts associated with the Project.


·                Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO); and

·                Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499. S.16), Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIAO-TM), Annexes 6 and 14.

Apart from these statutory requirements, the Practice Note for Professional Persons, Construction Site Drainage (ProPECC PN 1/94), issued by ProPECC in 1994, also provides useful guidelines on the management of construction site drainage and prevention of water pollution associated with construction activities.


3.2.2    EIAO-TM


Annexes 6 and 14 of the EIAO-TM provide general guidelines and criteria to be used in assessing water quality issues.

The EIAO-TM recognises that, in the application of the above water quality criteria, it may not be possible to achieve the WQO at the source as there are areas which are subjected to greater impacts (which are termed by EPD as the mixing zones) where the initial dilution of a pollution input takes place.  The definition of this area is determined on a case-by-case basis.  In general, the criteria for acceptance of the initial dilution area is that it must not impair the integrity of the water body as a whole and must not damage the ecosystem or impact marine sensitive receivers (including migratory pathways of important species, beaches, breeding grounds or other beneficial uses).


3.2.3    Water Pollution Control Ordinance


Under the WPCO, Hong Kong waters are divided into 10 Water Control Zones (WCZs) each of which has a designated set of statutory Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) designed to protect the marine environment and it’s users.  The two proposed facilities are located within the Northwestern WCZ.  The applicable WQOs associated for this WCZ are provided in Table 3.1Table 3.1Table 3.1.


Table 33.11         Water Quality Objectives

Water Quality Objectives

Aesthetic Appearance


Ø              There should be no objectionable odours or discolouration of the water.

Ø              Tarry residues, floating wood, articles made of glass, plastic, rubber or any other substances should be absent.

Ø              Mineral oil should not be visible on the surface.

Ø              There should be no recognisable sewage derived debris.

Ø              Floating, submerged and semi-submerged objects of a size likely to interfere with the free movement of vessels, or cause damage to vessels, should be absent.




Ø              The levels of Escherichia coli should not exceed 180 counts per 100 ml at bathing beaches, calculated as the geometric mean of the 5 most recent samples collected by EPD.

Ø              The levels of Escherichia coli should not exceed 610 counts per 100 ml at secondary contact recreation sub-zones, calculated as the geometric annual mean.


Dissolved Oxygen


Ø              The depth averaged concentration of dissolved oxygen should not fall below 4 mg/l for 90% of the sampling occasions during the whole year

Ø              The concentration of dissolved oxygen should not be less than 2 mg/l within 2m of the seabed for 90% of the sampling occasions during the whole year.




Ø              The pH of the water should be within the range 6.5 – 8.5 units.

Ø              Human activity should not cause the natural pH range to be extended by more than 0.2 units.




Ø              Waste discharges shall not cause the natural daily temperature range to change by more than 2.0oC.




Ø              Waste Discharges shall not cause the natural ambient salinity to change by more than 10%.


Suspended Solids


Ø              Human activity should neither cause the natural ambient level to be raised by more than 30% nor give rise to accumulation of suspended solids which may adversely affect aquatic communities.




Ø              The un-ionised ammoniacal nitrogen level should not be more than 0.21 mg/l calculated as the annual average (arithmetic mean).




Ø              Nutrients should not be present in quantities sufficient to cause excessive or nuisance growth of algae or other aquatic plants

Ø              Without limiting the generality of the above point, the level of inorganic nitrogen should not exceed 0.5 mg/l, or 0.3 mg/l within Castle Peak sub-zone, expressed as the annual water column average.




Ø              Waste discharges shall not cause the toxins in water to attain such a level as to produce significant toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic effects in humans, fish or other aquatic organisms, with due regard to biologically cumulative effects in food chains and to interactions of toxic substances with each other.

Ø              Waste discharges shall not cause a risk to any beneficial use of the aquatic environment.


3.2.4    Environment, Transport & Works Bureau Management of Dredged/Excavated Sediment (ETWBTCW No 34/2002)


This Technical Circular includes a set of sediment quality criteria, as presented below (Table 3.2Table 3.2Table 3.2), which include heavy metals and metalloids, organic pollutants and a new class for highly contaminated sediment not suitable for marine disposal.


Table 33.22         Dredged/Excavated Sediment Quality Criteria for the Classification under ETWBTCW No 34/2002


Lower Chemical Exceedance Level (LCEL)

Upper Chemical Exceedance Level (UCEL)


Metals (mg kg-1 dry weight)



















Silver (Ag)



Zinc (Zn)




Metalloid (mg kg-1 dry weight)

Arsenic (As)




Organic-PAHs (mg kg-1 dry weight)

Low Molecular Weight (LMW) PAHs



High Molecular Weight (HMW) PAHs




Organic-non-PAHs (mg kg-1 dry weight)

Total PCBs




Organometallics (mgTBT l-1 in interstitial water)

Tributyltin (a)




(a)        The contaminant level is considered to have exceeded the UCEL if it is greater than the value shown.


The DEP, as the Authority under the DASO, classifies sediments based on their contaminant levels with reference to the Chemical Exceedance Levels (CEL) in the above table.  There are three categories of sediment:


Category L:

Sediment with all contaminant levels not exceeding the Lower Chemical Exceedance Levels (LCEL).  The material must be dredged, transported and disposed of in a manner which minimises the loss of contaminants either into solution or by re-suspension.

Category M:

Sediment with any one or more contaminant levels exceeding the LCEL and none exceeding the Upper Chemical Exceedance Levels (UCEL).  The material must be dredged and transported with care, and must be effectively isolated from the environment upon final disposal unless appropriate biological tests demonstrate that the material will not adversely affect the marine environment.

Category H:

Sediment with any one or more contaminant levels exceeding the UCEL.  The material must be dredged and transported with great care, and must be effectively isolated from the environment upon final disposal.


3.3    Marine Ecology


3.3.1    EIAO-TM


The criteria for evaluating marine ecological impacts are laid out in the EIAO-TM.  Annex 16 sets out the general approach and methodology for assessment of marine ecological impacts arising from a project or proposal.  This assessment allows a complete and objective identification, prediction and evaluation of the potential marine ecological impacts.  Annex 8 recommends the criteria that can be used for evaluating marine ecological impacts.


3.3.2    Other


Other legislation which applies to marine species includes:

·                The Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) 1980, which protects all cetaceans and sea turtles.


3.4    Fisheries


3.4.1    EIAO-TM


The criteria for evaluating fisheries impacts are laid out in the EIAO-TMAnnex 17 of the EIAO-TM prescribes the general approach and methodology for the assessment of fisheries impacts arising from a project or proposal, to allow a complete and objective identification, prediction and evaluation of the potential impacts.  EIAO-TM Annex 9 recommends the criteria that are to be used for evaluating fisheries impacts.


3.4.2    Other


Other legislation which applies to fisheries include:
·                Fisheries Protection Ordinance (Cap 171) 1987 which provides for the conservation of fish and other aquatic life and regulates fishing practices; and
·                Marine Fish Culture Ordinance (Cap 353) 1983 regulates and protects marine fish culture and other related activities.


3.5    Noise Impact


The proposed dredging and disposal works for the new facility would be regarded as general construction works and the principal legislation relating to the control of construction noise is the Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400) (NCO).  Also there are provisions promulgated under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) for assessing noise from construction activities during daytime.  Various Technical Memoranda (TMs), which stipulate control approaches and criteria, have been issued under the NCO and EIAO.  The following TMs are applicable to the control of noise from construction activities:


·       Technical Memorandum on Noise from Percussive Piling (PP-TM);

·       Technical Memorandum on Noise from Construction Work other than Percussive Piling (GW-TM);

·       Technical Memorandum on Noise from Construction Work in Designated Areas (DA-TM); and

·       Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIAO-TM).


Regardless of any noise impact description or assessment made in this EIA Report, the Noise Control Authority will be guided by the relevant TMs issued under the NCO in assessing any application, once filed, for a construction noise permit (CNP) for works planned during restricted hours (ie 1900 to 0700 hours and any time on a general holiday including Sundays).  The Authority will consider all the factors affecting its decision taking the contemporary situations and conditions into account.  Nothing in this EIA Report shall bind the Authority in making its decision and further, there is no guarantee that a CNP will be issued.  If a permit is to be issued, the Authority may include any conditions it considers appropriate and such conditions must be followed during the execution of the works covered by the permit.  Failing to do so may lead to cancellation of the permit and prosecution action under the NCO.


3.5.1    General Construction Works


Under the EIAO, noise impact arising from general construction works during normal working hours (i.e. 0700 to 1900 hours on any day not being a Sunday or public holiday) at the openable windows of noise sensitive uses is to be assessed in accordance with the noise criteria as given in Annex 5 of the EIAO-TM.  The EIAO-TM noise standards are presented in Table 3.3Table 3.3Table 3.3.


Table 33.33         EIAO-TM Daytime Construction Noise Standard (Leq, 30 min dB(A))


Noise Standard

Domestic Premises


Educational Institutions (normal periods)

Educational Institutions (during examination periods)




3.5.2    General Construction Works During Restricted Hours


Dredging operations are expected to take place during restricted hours.  The NCO provides statutory controls on general construction works during restricted hours (ie 1900 – 0700 hours Monday to Saturday and at any time on Sundays and public holidays).  The use of powered mechanical equipment (PME) for carrying out construction works during these restricted hours would require a CNP.  The Noise Control Authority will assess all CNP applications on a case-by-case basis and, in doing so, it will be guided by the GW-TM.


When assessing an application for the use of PME, the Noise Control Authority will compare the Acceptable Noise Levels (ANLs) specified in the GW-TM with the Corrected Noise Levels (CNLs) (adjusted for any barrier and reflection effects) associated with the proposed PME operations.  The NCO requires that noise levels from construction at affected NSRs be less than the specified ANL.  The ANLs are related to the inherent noise sensitivity of the noise receiver areas in question, which in turn relate to the background noise characteristics of these areas.  Each noise receiver area is then assigned an Area Sensitivity Rating based on its predominant land use and the presence, if any, of Influencing Factors such as nearby industrial areas, major roads or airports.  The relevant ANLs are shown in Table 3.4Table 3.4Table 3.4.


Table 33.44          Acceptable Noise Levels (ANL, Leq, 5 min dB(A))

Time period

Area Sensitivity Rating





All days during the evening (1900-2300 hours) and general holidays (including Sundays) during the day and evening (0700-2300 hours)




All days during the night-time (2300-0700 hours)





(1)  The above standards apply to uses which rely on opened windows for ventilation


As the Study Area is located outside a designated area, the noise criteria stipulated under the DA-TM are not applicable in this Study.


3.6    Cultural Heritage


The following legislation is applicable to the assessment of cultural heritage resources in Hong Kong:


·                Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499). Technical Memorandum on the EIA Process (EIAO-TM);

·                Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53);

·                Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG); and

·                AMO Marine Archaeological Investigation Guidelines. 


3.6.1    EIAO-TM


The EIAO-TM outlines the approaches required in investigating and assessing the impacts on cultural heritage sites. The following are applicable:

Annex 19:  “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.  A baseline study shall be conducted: (a)  to compile a comprehensive inventory of places, buildings, sites and structures of architectural, archaeological and historical value within the proposed project area; and (b) 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.”

The Memorandum also outlines the Criteria for Assessment of Impact on Sites of Cultural Heritage as follows: 

Annex 10:  “The criteria for evaluating impact on sites of cultural heritage includes:  (a)  The general presumption in favour of the protection and conservation of all sites of cultural heritage because they provide an essential, finite and irreplaceable link between the past and the future and are points of reference and identity for culture and tradition; (b) Adverse impacts on sites of cultural heritage shall be kept to the absolute minimum.”

The Memorandum also outlines the approach in regard to the preservation in totality, in part, and not at all of cultural resources:

Annex 19:  “Preservation in totality will be a beneficial impact and will enhance the cultural and socio-economical environment if suitable measures to integrate the sites of cultural heritage into the proposed project are carried out.  If, due to site constraints and other factors, only preservation in part is possible, this must be fully justified with alternative proposals or layout designs, which confirm the impracticability of total preservation.”

3.6.2    Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap.53)


In addition to the EIAO, cultural heritage resources in Hong Kong are protected by legislative and administrative mechanisms.  The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53), provides power for the designation of Antiquities and Monuments Sites or Declared Monuments in Hong Kong, and provides statutory protection against the threat of development for declared monuments, historic buildings and archaeological sites on land and underwater which have been recommended by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB), approved by the Chief Executive and gazetted in the government gazette to enable their preservation for posterity.

The Antiquities Authority may, after consultation with the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) and with Government approval, gazette and protect any place, building, site or structure considered to be of public interest by reason of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance.  Once declared a site of public interest, no person may undertake acts that are prohibited under the Ordinance, such as demolishing or carrying out construction or other works, unless a permit is obtained from the Antiquities Authority.

For archaeological sites, all relics dated prior to 1800 AD belong to the Hong Kong Government.  Archaeological sites are classified into two categories, as follows:


·                Designated – those that have been declared as monuments and are to be protected and conserved at all costs; and,

·                Administrative Protection – those which are considered to be of significant value but which are not declared as monuments and should be either protected, or if found not possible to protect these sites then salvaged.


The Legislation also sets out the procedures for the issuing of Licences to Excavate and Search for Antiquities, the effect of which is to forbid all such activities being undertaken without such a licence.  It also provides for the penalties exacted for infringement of the Ordinance, including fines and imprisonment.

Although there are no statutory provisions for the protection of Sites of Cultural Heritage, Deemed Monuments and Graded Buildings in Hong Kong, the Government has administrative procedures which state that consideration must be given to protect them.  However, at present, the record of sites of cultural heritage is incomplete as many areas have yet to be surveyed in detail. 

Section 11 of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance requires any person who discovers an antiquity, or supposed antiquity, to report the discovery to the Antiquities Authority.  Nevertheless it is prudent to ensure that procedures and mechanisms which ensure the preservation or formal notification of previously unknown archaeological resources that may be revealed or discovered during a project assessment or during construction are identified at an early stage in project planning.


3.6.3    Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines


The HKPSG, Chapter 10 (Conservation), provides general guidelines and measures for the conservation of historical buildings and archaeological sites and other antiquities.


3.6.4    AMO Marine Archaeological Investigation Guidelines


The AMO has issued Guidelines for Marine Archaeological Investigation (MAI) which details the standard practice, procedures and methodology which must be undertaken in determining the marine archaeological potential, presence of archaeological artefacts and defining suitable mitigation measures.  The guidelines are provided in Appendix II of the EIAO Study Brief.


3.7    Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance (Cap. 127)


As the seabed would be affected by the proposed project, seabed gazettal under the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance (FSRO) (Cap. 127) would be required.  The purposes of the FSRO are as follows:


·                To provide for the publication of proposals in respect of reclamations over and upon any foreshore and sea-bed;

·                To make provision in respect of objections to the proposals, the payment of compensation and connected matters; and

·                To repeal the Public Reclamations and Works Ordinance (Cap 113 1984 Ed.) and the Foreshores and Sea Bed Ordinance (Cap 127 1984 Ed.).


3        Legislative Requirements  1

3.1     Introduction         1

3.2     Water Quality        1

3.3     Marine Ecology    4

3.4     Fisheries         4

3.5     Noise Impact  5

3.6     Cultural Heritage       7

3.7     Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance (Cap. 127)         9