Table of Contents


9.1         Introduction. 9-1

9.2         Environmental Legislations and Standards. 9-1

9.3         Assessment Criteria and Methodology. 9-3

9.4         Results of the Desk-Based Study. 9-4

9.5         Impact Assessment 9-5

9.6         Recommended Mitigation Measures. 9-6

9.7         Environmental Monitoring and Audit 9-6

9.8         Conclusion. 9-6




Figure 9-1            Assessment Areas for Cultural Heritage




9.                       IMPACT ON CULTURAL HERITAGE

9.1                   Introduction

9.1.1             The EIA Study Brief for the Project requires a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) including a Built Heritage Impact Assessment (BHIA). This BHIA requires to identify known and unknown built heritage items within the Assessment Area that maybe affected by the Project, assess the potential direct and indirect impacts on these identified built heritage, and recommend mitigation measures where required during construction and operation phases. 

9.2                   Environmental Legislations and Standards

9.2.1             The following legislations and guidelines are applicable to the assessment of cultural heritage impacts in Hong Kong:

·      Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53)

·      Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) (Cap. 499)

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

·      Guidance Notes on Assessment of Impact on Site of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies (GN-CH)

·      Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG)

·      Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment

·      Development Bureau Technical Circular (Works) No. 6/2009: Heritage Impact Assessment Mechanism for Capital Works Projects

Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53)

9.2.2             The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (the Ordinance) provides the statutory framework to provide for the preservation of objects of historical, archaeological and paleontological interest. The Ordinance contains the statutory procedures for the Declaration of Monuments. The proposed monument can be any place, building, site or structure, which is considered to be of public interest by reason of its historical archaeological or paleontological significance.

9.2.3             Under Section 6 and subject to sub-section (4) of the Ordinance, the following acts are prohibited in relation to certain monuments, except under permit:

·      To excavate, carry on building works, plant or fell trees or deposit earth or refuse on or in a proposed monument or monument; and

·      To demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with a proposed monument or monument.


9.2.4             The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) (Cap.499) was implemented on 1 April 1998. Its purpose is to avoid, minimise and control the adverse impact of designated projects on the environment, through the application of the EIA process and the Environmental Permit (EP) system.

9.2.5             The general criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing impacts to sites of cultural heritage are listed in Annexes 10 and 19 of the Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIAO-TM). It is stated in Annex 10 that all adverse impacts to sites of cultural heritage should be kept to an absolute minimum and that the general presumption of impact assessment should be in favour of the protection and conservation of all sites of cultural heritage. Annex 19 provides the details of scope and methodology for undertaking Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment, including baseline study, impact assessment and mitigation measures. No quantitative standard for determining the relative importance of sites of cultural heritage, but in general, sites of unique, archaeological, historical or architectural should be considered as highly significant.

9.2.6             The Guidance Notes on Assessment of Impact on Site of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies (GN-CH) serves as a reference to assist the understanding of the requirements set out in Section 2 of Annex 10 and Annex 19 of the EIAO-TM in assessing impact on sites of cultural heritage in EIA studies.  

Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG)

9.2.7             Chapter 10 of the HKPSG details the planning principles for conservation of natural landscape and habitats, historical buildings and archaeological sites. The document states that heritage conservation is the protection of monuments, historical, buildings, archaeological sites and other antiquities, and in a wider sense implies respect for local activities, customs and traditions.  The guidelines state that the concept of conservation of heritage features, should not be restricted to individual structures, but should endeavour to embrace the setting of the feature or features in both urban and rural settings.

Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment

9.2.8             The Guideline is issued by the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO). It assists the understanding of the requirements in assessing impact on archaeological and built heritage, and outlines the specific technical requirements for conducting a built heritage impact assessments and is based upon the requirements of the EIAO-TM. The guidelines include the parameters and scope for the baseline study, specifically on desk-based research and field evaluation. There are also included guidelines encompassing reporting requirements and archive preparation and submission in the form of Guidelines for Archaeological Reports and guidelines for the Handling of Archaeological Finds and Archives. It is also in Appendix H-1 of the EIA Study Brief for the Project.

9.2.9             The prerequisite conditions for conducting impact assessment and mitigation measures are presented in details including the prediction and evaluation of impacts based upon five levels of significance (beneficial, acceptable, acceptable with mitigation measures, unacceptable and undetermined). The guidelines also state that preservation in totality must be taken as the first priority and if this is not feasible due to site constraints or other factors, full justification must be provided.

9.2.10         Appropriate mitigation measures will be proposed in cases with identified impacts and shall have the aim of minimising the degree of adverse impact. The responsibility for the implementation of any proposed mitigation measures must be clearly stated with details of when and where the measures will be implemented and by which party.

Development Bureau Technical Circular (Works) No. 6/2009: Heritage Impact Assessment Mechanism for Capital Works Projects

9.2.11         The Technical Circular contains the procedures and requirements for assessing heritage impact arising from the implementation of new capital works projects as defined in Section 5 of the Technical Circular. It is stated in the document that the works agent will provide a checklist to the AMO of any heritage sites (as defined in the Technical Circular) situated within or within the vicinity of the project boundary (usually to be defined as not more than 50 metres measured from the nearest point of the project boundary, including works areas).

9.2.12         The identification of the heritage sites shall be undertaken at the earliest possible stage, preferably as part of the Technical Feasibility Statement. If the works boundary cannot be defined at this stage, the checklist shall be provided as soon as the project boundary has been defined. Upon receipt of the above information from the works agent, the AMO will determine if the proposed project will affect the heritage value of any heritage site and decide the necessity of conducting a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) based upon the submitted information.

9.2.13         If a HIA is required, the works agent shall submit a proposal for the scope of the HIA for AMO approval. Once the scope has been approved it will be the responsibility of the works agent to conduct the HIA.

9.3                   Assessment Criteria and Methodology

9.3.1             The investigation of the cultural heritage of the area follows the approach that is identified in the EIAO-TM and the Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment as set out in the EIA Study Brief of this Project. As stated in the Study Brief, the CHIA shall include areas within a distance of 50 meters from the site boundary of the Project, associated works, supporting facilities and essential infrastructures (hereinafter “Assessment Area”). It is also mentioned that only BHIA shall be included in this Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment. 

9.3.2             In addition to the desk-based study, a field visit was carried out along the alignment and within the Assessment Area. This approach minimises the likelihood of any features of cultural heritage interest being overlooked.

9.3.3             Features which fall within the scope of built heritage resources include:

·      All declared monuments;

·      All proposed monuments;

·      All building/structure/ sites graded or proposed to be graded by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB);

·      Government historic sites identified by AMO;

·      Buildings/structures/ sites of high architectural/historical significance and interest which are not included in items mentioned above; and

·      Cultural landscapes included places associated with historic event, activity, or person or exhibiting other cultural or aesthetic values, such as sacred religious sites, battlefields, a setting for buildings or structures of architectural or archaeological importance, historic field patterns, clan graves, old tracks, fung shui woodlands and pons, and etc.

9.3.4             The definitions of gradings are adopted by the Antiquities Advisory Board and the AMO for the preservation of historic buildings. The classification has three gradings:

Grade 1:     Buildings of outstanding merit, which every effort should be made to preserve if possible.
Grade 2:     Buildings of special merit; efforts should be made t selectively preserve.
Grade 3:     Buildings of some merit; preservation in some form would be desirable and alternative means could be considered if preservation is not practicable.

Baseline Study

Desk-Based Study

9.3.5             A desk-based study was conducted to reveal all published information available in the public domain. The information sources include the following:

·      List of Proposed and Declared Monuments as issued by the AMO;

·      List of Graded and Proposed Graded Historic Buildings as issued by the AMO;

·      Publications on relevant historical, anthropological and other cultural studies; 

·      Unpublished archival, papers, records; collection and libraries of tertiary institutions;

·      Cartographic and pictorial documentation;

·      Relevant information from AMO’s website; and

·      Previous Archaeological Impact Assessment, Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment and / or Approved EIA Studies conducted within the study area.

Site Visit

9.3.6             A Site Visit along the Project alignment and within the Assessment Area was conducted to note the current condition of the previously recorded resources and also the record resources not included in the previous studies, hence, to fill the information gap in the desk-based study.

9.3.7             The scope of built heritage resources included in this Study follows the requirements of the Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment as issued by the AMO. These include proposed and declared monuments, proposed and graded historic buildings and government historic sites, all pre-1950 buildings and structures and selected post-1950 buildings and structures of high architectural and historical significance and interest were identified and recorded.

Impact Assessment and Mitigation Recommendations

9.3.8             Prediction and identification of both direct and indirect impacts that may affect the built heritage resources within the Assessment Area was undertaken. Preservation in-situ should always be the first priority for sites of cultural heritage. If preservation in totality is not possible, mitigation would be proposed to minimise the degree of adverse impact to the greatest possible extent. As well, any disturbance to sites of cultural heritage that may cause physical damage should be avoided wherever possible through alteration of design, construction method or protective measures as appropriate.

9.4                   Results of the Desk-Based Study

9.4.1             As stated in the EIA Study Brief, the Assessment Area for the built heritage impact assessment is 50m from the Project site boundary (including works area), as shown in Figure 9-1. Based on the desk-based study, there are no proposed or declared monuments, government historic sites, historic building nor built heritage resources within the Assessment Area. The nearest identified built heritage resources are the Tin Hau Temple near Ha Kwai Chung Tsuen and the Tang Ancestral Hall at Ha Kwai Chung Tsuen. Both of them are nil grade and are about 400m and 600m from the Project boundary respectively as shown in Figure 9-1. 

9.5                   Impact Assessment

Level of Impact

9.5.1             According to the Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment, the evaluation of the impacts on heritage resources affected by the proposed development is classified into five levels of significance/level based on type and extent of the effect:

·      Beneficial impact: the impact is beneficial if the project will enhance the preservation of the heritage site(s);

·      Acceptable impact: if the assessment indicates that there will be no significant effects on the heritage site(s);

·      Acceptable impact with mitigation measures: if there will be some adverse effects, but these can be eliminated, reduced or offset to a large extent by specific measures, such as conduct a follow-up Conservation Proposal or Conservation Management Plan for the affected heritage site(s) before commencement of work in order to avoid any inappropriate and unnecessary interventions to the buildings;

·      Unacceptable impact: if the adverse effects are considered to be too excessive and are unable to mitigate practically;

·      Undetermined impact: if the significant adverse effects are likely, but the extent to which they may occur or may be mitigated cannot be determined from the study. Further detailed study will be required for the specific effects in question.

9.5.2             The impacts were assessed for both the construction and operation phases with the potential sources of impacts are discussed in the following sections. A proposal with details for the mitigation measures and monitoring of impacts on built heritage shall be submitted to AMO for comments before commencement of work, if considered necessary.

Construction Phase

9.5.3             Any heritage resources, located in close proximity to the Project may be impacted through:

·      Direct impact to historical (e.g. demolition) and sites of terrestrial archaeological potential (e.g. excavation);

·      Indirect vibration impact on historical buildings due to drilling and piling activities during construction phase that may lead to the structural damage or interference of normal activities; and

·      Indirect visual impact to historical buildings due to construction works e.g. excavation works at surface.

Operation Phase

9.5.4             Impacts on sites of cultural heritage during operation phase of the Project includes indirect visual impact associated with alteration in surrounding environment of the historical structures due to the vehicular traffic noise at the above-ground structures of the Project.

Evaluation of Potential Impacts

Construction Phase

Direct Impact

9.5.5             During construction phase, no direct impact is expected as none of the historic buildings / structures are located within the Assessment Area.

Indirect Impact

9.5.6             During construction phase, no indirect impact is expected as none of the historic buildings / structures are located within the Assessment Area.

9.5.7             Temporary visual impact would not be anticipated since no built heritage resource was identified within the Assessment Area.  For the nearest built heritage resource, ie. Tin Hau Temple near Ha Kwai Chung Tsuen (nil grade) and Tang Ancestral Hall at Ha Kwai Chung Tsuen (nil grade), they are distanced away from the construction site (approx. 400m and 600m from the Project boundary respectively), and the associated views to the Project site are highly disturbed / blocked by the surrounding developments such as the existing road network (both at grade and elevated) and / or the surrounding buildings/structures/development (e.g. Kwai Chung Road and the existing Tsuen Wan Road etc.) as shown in Figure 9-1.

Operation Phase

9.5.8             No impact is expected as none of the historic building / structure is located within the Assessment Area.

9.5.9             Similar to the discussion in Section 9.5.7, no visual impact would be anticipated as the closest identified built heritages are located over 50m from the Project site and the associated views to the Project site are highly disturbed / blocked by the road networks (both at grade and elevated) and / or the surrounding building/structures/development as shown in Figure 9-1.

9.6                   Recommended Mitigation Measures

9.6.1             No adverse built heritage impact associated with the Project during both construction and operation phases would be anticipated. Therefore, no mitigation measures for cultural heritage would be required.

9.7                   Environmental Monitoring and Audit

9.7.1             No mitigation measures are recommended and, therefore, no EM&A is required.  As a precautionary measure, the AMO shall be informed immediately in case of discovery of antiquities or supposed antiquities within the project boundary.

9.8                   Conclusion

9.8.1             No cultural heritage resource was identified within the Assessment Area of the Project. No impacts to cultural heritage are expected to be anticipated during both construction and operational phases of the Project and no mitigation measures would be required.