Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499)
Environmental Impact Assessment Study Brief No. ESB-088/2001
Project Title: Drainage Improvements in Sai Kung
Name of Applicant: Drainage Services Department
(hereinafter known as the "Applicant")
1.1 An application (No. ESB-088/2001) for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study brief under section 5(1) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) was submitted by the Applicant on 1 November 2001 with a Project Profile (No. PP-149/2001) for the captioned proposed project.
1.2 The proposed project includes the following major items of works:
(i) Sai Kung River & Sha Ha Diversion Culvert: construction of approximately 140 m of channel with natural bed and grasscrete and masonry lined bank in Sai Kung River; and, construction of approximately 300 m of 3-cell box culvert for Sha Ha flood diversion (Figure 1);
(ii) Pak Kong River: construction of approximately 620 m of channel in Pak Kong River using masonry and grasscrete lined banks and natural bed; and bank raising (Figure 2); and
(iii) Ho Chung River: reconstructing the three pumping station weirs; realigning the confluence of the two channels at the upstream end of the site; construction of approximately 700 m of channel using masonry and grasscrete lined banks and natural bed from the pumping station access ford to Hiram's Highway roadbridge; bank raising along the right (southern) bank; and, improvements to the cross-road drains beneath Ho Chung Road (Figure 3).
1.3 The proposed project is a Designated Project under Schedule 2 Part I of the EIAO and requires an environmental permit under the EIAO for its construction and operation.
1.4 Pursuant to section 5(7)(a) of the EIAO, the Director of Environmental Protection (the Director) issues this EIA study brief to the Applicant to carry out an EIA study.
1.5 The purpose of this EIA study is to provide information on the nature and extent of environmental impacts arising from the construction and operation of the proposed project and related activities taking place concurrently. This information will contribute to decisions by the Director on:
(i) the overall acceptability of any adverse environmental consequences that are likely to arise as a result of the proposed project;
(ii) the conditions and requirements for the detailed design, construction and operation of the proposed project to mitigate against adverse environmental consequences wherever practicable; and
(iii) the acceptability of residual impacts after the proposed mitigation measures are implemented.
2. OBJECTIVES OF THE EIA STUDY
2.1 The objectives of the EIA study are as follows:
(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 identify any potential impacts from point and non-point pollution sources on the identified water systems and sensitive receivers during the construction and operation stages;
(v) to identify and quantify any potential losses and damage to flora, fauna and wildlife habitats;
(vi) to identify and quantify, where applicable, any potential landscape and visual impacts and determine the significance of impacts on sensitive receivers;
(vii) to identify any potential impacts to the historical, archaeological and cultural resources and propose measures to mitigate these impacts;
(viii) to propose the provision of infrastructure or mitigation measures so as to minimize pollution, environmental disturbance and nuisance during construction and operation of the proposed project;
(ix) 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 proposed project in relation to the sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
(x) to identify, assess and specify methods, measures and standards, to be included in the detailed design, construction and operation of the proposed project, which are necessary to mitigate these environmental impacts and reducing them to acceptable levels;
(xi) to investigate the extent of secondary environmental impacts that may arise from the proposed mitigation measures and to identify constraints associated with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIA study, as well as the provision of any necessary modification;
(xii) 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
(xiii) to consider alternatives with a view to avoiding or minimizing the potential environmental impacts to the sensitive uses, and to compare the environmental benefits and dis-benefits of each of the different options and to provide reasons for selecting the preferred option(s) and to describe the part environmental factors played in the selection.
3. DETAILED REQUIREMENTS OF THE EIA STUDY
3.1 The Purpose
The purpose of this study brief is to scope the key issues of the EIA study. The Applicant has to demonstrate in the EIA report that the criteria in the relevant sections of the Technical Memorandum on the EIA Process of the EIAO (hereinafter referred to as the TM) are fully complied with.
3.2 The Scope
The scope of this EIA study covers the proposed project mentioned in section 1.2 above. The EIA study shall address the likely key issues described below; together with any key issues identified during the course of the EIA study.
(i) the potential impacts on the drainage, hydrology and water quality from the discharge of stormwater into the coastal waters of Hebe Haven, Sha Ha and Inner Port Shelter during construction and operation phases of the proposed project, and the potential impacts on the drainage, hydrology and water quality of the downstream of the existing Sai Kung River during the construction and operation of the future Sai Kung River & Sha Ha Diversion Culvert;
(ii) the potential aquatic and terrestrial ecological impacts arising from the construction works, including loss of habitats, removal of vegetation and disturbance to animals of the proposed project;
(iii) the potential landscape and visual impacts arising from the removal of vegetation and the cutting of banks and slopes of the proposed project. In addition, appropriate landscape treatment shall also be provided to enhance the amenity value of the affected areas;
(iv) the potential noise and dust impacts to sensitive receivers during the construction phases, in particular at areas near the school(s), village houses and other residential quarters/dwellings of the proposed project; and
(v) the potential impacts on the cultural heritage sites, in particular Che Kung Temple in Ho Chung, Ho Chung Archaeological Site and Sha Ha Archaeological Site, if they are affected by the construction works of the proposed project.
3.3 Consideration of the Need of the Project, Alternative Drainage Options and Alignments, Channel Designs and Construction Methods
3.3.1 The Need of Project, Alternative Drainage Options and Alignments and Channel Designs
(i) The channelisation project will lead to loss of a few hundred metres of natural rivers and the associated riparian habitat. The Applicant should justify in the EIA report why the present arrangement has been selected among other possible alternatives, including cost/benefit considerations. Sai Kung is one of the only remaining natural assets of the HKSAR and every effort should be made to preserve its natural characters;
(ii) The Applicant shall study and review the need of the proposed project, with information/proof to justify the need of the proposed project with the completion of any other committed drainage works in the areas. The Applicant shall provide information, including the monitoring data of the South East New Territories' floodplain hydraulics and hydrological predictions (with/without other drainage channels in place) to justify the need and function of the proposed project;
(iii) Apart from the alignments and locations proposed in the Project Profile, the Applicant shall consider different feasible drainage improvement options including alternative designs on drainage improvements, alternative alignments, alternative locations of stormwater drains and their discharge points. A comparison of the environmental benefits and dis-benefits of the possible drainage improvement options, the alignments, the locations of stormwater drains and the discharge points and the de-silting devices minimising uncontrolled sediment discharge into the coastal waters shall be made.
3.3.2 Consideration of Alternative Construction Methods and Sequences of Works
Having regard to the cumulative effects of the construction period and the severity of the construction impacts to the affected sensitive receivers along the rivers, the EIA study shall also explore alternative construction methods and sequences of works for the proposed project with a view to avoid adverse environmental impacts to the maximum practicable extent. A comparison of the environmental benefits and dis-benefits of applying different construction methods shall be made. The Applicant shall take into account the environmental implications of potential flooding at downstream areas in wet seasons during construction phases in the comparison.
3.3.3 Taking into the comparisons in sections 3.3.1(i), (ii), (iii) and 3.3.2 above, the Applicant shall recommend/justify the adoption of the drainage improvements options that will avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts.
3.4 Technical Requirements
The Applicant shall conduct the EIA study to address all environmental aspects of the activities as described in the scope as set out above and subject to the findings under section 3.3. The EIA study shall include the following technical requirements on specific impacts:-
3.4.1 Construction Air Quality Impact
22.214.171.124 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing construction air quality impact as stated in section 1 of Annex 4 and Annex 12 of the TM respectively.
126.96.36.199 The assessment area for the construction air quality impact assessment shall generally be defined by a distance of 500 m from the boundary of the proposed project works sites, yet it may be extended depending on the circumstances and the scale of the proposed project.
188.8.131.52 The Applicant shall assess the air pollutant concentrations with reference to the Guidelines for Local-Scale Air Quality Assessment Using Models issued by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the HKSAR dated March, 2000.
184.108.40.206 The air quality assessment shall include the following:
Background and analysis of activities
(i) Provide background information relating to air quality issues relevant to the proposed project, e.g. description of the types of activities of the proposed project.
(ii) Give an account, where appropriate, of the consideration/measures that had been taken into consideration in the planning of the proposed project to abate the air pollution impact. That is, the Applicant shall consider alternative construction methods/phasing programmes to minimize the construction air and dust impacts.
(iii) Present the background air quality levels in the assessment area for the purpose of evaluating the cumulative construction air quality impacts. Identification of Air Sensitive Receivers (ASRs) and examination of emission/dispersion characteristics
(iv) Identify and describe representative existing and planned/committed ASRs that would likely be affected by the proposed project. The Applicant shall select the assessment points of the identified ASRs such that they represent the worst impact point on these ASRs. A map showing the location and a description including the name of the buildings, their uses and height of the selected assessment points shall be given. The separation distances of these ASRs from the nearest emission sources should also be given.
(v) Provide an exhaustive list of air pollutant emission sources, including any nearby emission sources, which are likely to have impact on the proposed project. Examples of construction stage emission sources include stock piling, concrete batching and vehicular movements on unpaved haul roads on site and so forth. Confirmation of the validity of the assumptions and the magnitude of the activities (e.g. volume of construction materials handled) shall be obtained from the relevant government/authorities and documented.
(vi) The Applicant shall follow the requirements of the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation in dust control to ensure construction dust impacts are controlled to within the relevant standards as stipulated in section 1 of Annex 4 of the TM. A monitoring and audit program during the construction stage shall be implemented to verify the effectiveness of the control measures and to ensure that the construction dust levels are brought under control.
(vii) If the Applicant anticipates a significant construction dust impact that will likely cause exceedance of the recommended limits in the TM at the ASRs despite incorporation of the dust control measures stated in (vi) above, an quantitative assessment shall be carried out to evaluate the construction dust impact at the identified ASRs. The Applicant shall follow the methodology below when carrying out the assessment.
Quantitative Assessment Methodology
(viii) The Applicant shall apply the general principles enunciated in the modelling guidelines while making allowance for the specific characteristic of the proposed project. Specific methodology must be documented to such level of detail (preferably with tables and diagrams) to allow the readers of the EIA report to grasp how the model is set up to simulate the situation at hand without referring to the model input files. Details of the calculation of the emission rates of air pollutants for input to the modelling shall be presented in the EIA report. The Applicant must ensure consistency between the text description and the model files at every stage of submission. In case of doubt, prior agreement of the general methodology between the Applicant and the Director is advised.
(ix) The Applicant shall identify the key/representative air pollutant parameters related to construction activities (types of pollutants and the averaging time concentration) to be evaluated and provide explanation for choosing these parameters for the assessment of the impact of the proposed project.
(x) The Applicant shall calculate the cumulative air quality impact at the identified ASRs and compare these results against the criteria set out in section 1 of Annex 4 in the TM. The predicted air quality impacts (both unmitigated and mitigated) shall be presented in the form of summary tables and pollution contours, for comparison with relevant air quality standards and for examination of the land use implications of these impacts. Plans of suitable scale should be used for presentation of pollution contours for determining buffer distances required.
Mitigating Measures for Non-compliance
(xi) The Applicant shall propose remedies and mitigating measures, where the predicted air quality impact exceeds the criteria set in section 1 of Annex 4 in the TM. These measures and any constraints on future land use planning shall be agreed with the relevant government departments/authorities and documented. The Applicant shall demonstrate quantitatively that the resultant impacts after incorporation of proposed mitigating measures will comply with the criteria stipulated in section 1 of Annex 4 in the TM.
Submission of Model Files
(xii) All input and output file(s) of the model run(s) shall be submitted to the Director in electronic format.
3.4.2 Construction Noise Impact
220.127.116.11 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing construction noise impact as stated in Annexes 5 and 13 of the TM respectively.
18.104.22.168 The construction noise impact assessment shall include the following:
(i) Determination of Assessment Area
The assessment area for the construction noise impact assessment shall include all areas within 300 m from the project boundary. Subject to the agreement of the Director, the assessment area could be reduced accordingly if the first layer of Noise Sensitive Receivers (NSRs), closer than 300 m from the project boundary, provides acoustic shielding to those NSRs further from the site.
(ii) Provision of Background Information and Existing Noise Levels
The Applicant shall provide all background information relevant to the proposed project, including relevant previous or current studies. Unless necessary for planning standards, it will not be necessary to investigate the existing noise levels.
(iii) Identification of NSRs(a) The Applicant shall refer to Annex 13 of the TM when identifying the NSRs. The NSRs shall include all existing NSRs and all planned/committed noise sensitive developments and uses earmarked on the relevant outline zoning plans, outline development plans, layout plans and other published plans, including any land use and development applications approved by Town Planning Board. For planned noise sensitive land uses without committed layouts, the Applicant shall work out indicative site layouts based on the relevant planning parameters.
(b) The Applicant shall select assessment points to represent all identified NSRs for carrying out quantitative noise assessment described below. The assessment points shall be agreed with the Director prior to the quantitative noise assessment. A map showing the location and description such as name of building, use, and floors of each and every selected assessment point shall be given.
(iv) Provision of an Emission Inventory of the Noise Sources
The Applicant shall provide an inventory of noise sources including construction equipment for construction noise assessment. Confirmation of the validity of the inventory shall be obtained from the relevant government departments/authorities.
(v) Construction Noise Assessment(a) The Applicant shall carry out assessment of noise impact from construction (excluding percussive piling) during day time, i.e. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on weekdays other than general holidays in accordance with the methodology stipulated in sections 5.3 and 5.4 of Annex 13 of the TM. The criteria in Table 1B of Annex 5 of the TM shall be adopted in the assessment.
(b) To minimize the construction noise impact, alternative construction methods (e.g. to replace percussive piling) shall be explored and recommended as far as practicable. If the unmitigated construction noise levels are found to exceed the relevant criteria, the Applicant shall propose practicable direct mitigation measures (including movable barriers, enclosures, quieter alternative methods, re-scheduling and restricting hours of operation of noisy task) to minimize the impact. If the mitigated noise levels still exceed the relevant criteria, the duration of the noise exceedance shall be given.
(c) The applicant shall confirm whether construction work during restricted hours is required. If affirmative, the applicant shall evaluate whether construction works in restricted hours as defined under the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO) are feasible or not in the context of programming construction works. Reference shall be made to the relevant technical memoranda issued under the NCO. Regardless of the results of the construction noise impact assessment for restricted hours, the Noise Control Authority will process the Construction Noise Permit application, if necessary, based on the NCO, the relevant technical memoranda issued under the NCO and the contemporary conditions/situations. This aspect should be explicitly stated in the noise chapter and the conclusions and recommendations chapter in the EIA report.
3.4.3 Water Quality Impact
22.214.171.124 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing water pollution as stated in Annexes 6 and 14 of the TM respectively.
126.96.36.199 The assessment area for the water quality impact assessment shall include all areas within 500 m from the project boundary, the area shall include but not limited to the coastal waters of Hebe Haven, Sha Ha and Inner Port Shelter. This assessment area could be extended to include other areas such as stream courses and the associated water system in the vicinity being impacted during the course of the EIA study if found justifiable.
188.8.131.52 The Applicant shall identify and analyse all physical, chemical and biological disruptions of marine, fresh water or ground water system(s), catchment area(s), stormwater channel(s) and coastal water(s) arising from the construction and operation of the proposed project.
184.108.40.206 The Applicant shall include (1) the construction phase impacts on water quality at the site; and (2) the operational phase impacts on water quality at downstream of the site due to the natural process of siltation, flows and water velocity, and re-suspensions of sediments. Essentially, the assessment shall address the following:
(i) Collection and review of background information on the existing and planned water systems and their respective catchments and sensitive receivers which might be affected by the proposed project during construction and operation;
(ii) Characterization of water and sediment quality of the water systems and respective catchments and sensitive receivers which might be affected by the proposed project during construction and operation based on existing information or appropriate site survey and tests;
(iii) Identification and analysis of all existing and planned future activities and beneficial uses related to the water system(s) and identification of all water sensitive receivers. The Applicant shall refer to, inter alia, those developments and uses earmarked on the relevant outline zoning plans, outline development plans and layout plans;
(iv) Identification of pertinent water and sediment quality objectives and establishment of other appropriate water and sediment quality criteria or standards for the water system(s) and all the sensitive receivers in (i) above;
(v) Review the specific construction methods and configurations, and operation of the proposed project. Identification of any alteration of existing water courses, natural streams/ponds, shoreline or bathymetry, flow regimes, ground water levels and catchment types or areas;
(vi) Identification, analysis and quantification of all existing, likely future water and sediment pollution sources, including point discharges and non-point sources to surface water runoff and analyse these in relation to the provision and adequacy of future facilities to reduce such pollution in terms of capacity and levels of treatment; evaluation and quantification through appropriate site investigation and tests to the pollution loading intercepted by the proposed project and discharged into the coastal waters of Hebe Haven, Sha Ha and Inner Port Shelter; evaluation and quantification of the flows and pollution loads collected and discharged into the existing and planned downstream water courses and drainage systems before and after operation of the proposed project;
(vii) Establishment and provision of a pollution load inventory on the quantities and characteristics of all existing and likely future water pollution sources identified above. Field investigation and laboratory tests shall be conducted as appropriate to fill in any major information gaps;
(viii) Cumulative impacts due to all other committed and planned projects and activities or pollution sources in the area along the identified water system(s) and sensitive receivers shall be identified and assessed through undertaking a hydraulic modelling;
(ix) Assessment and evaluation of any potential water quality impacts on the identified water system(s), respective catchments and sensitive receivers due to sewage arising from the construction stage. Any effluent generated will require appropriate collection, treatment and disposal to within standards and objectives and criteria established in (iv) above;
(x) Assessment and evaluation of any potential stormwater and construction runoff impacts on the water system(s), respective catchments and sensitive receivers during construction stages as to reduce the water and sediment quality impacts to within standards, objectives and criteria established in (iv) above. Best management practices shall be recommended to reduce any potential impacts arising from stormwater runoff during both construction and operation phases;
(xi) Establishment of the erosion control plan during construction as per assessment carried out in point (x) above. This erosion control plan shall incorporate details such as locations, sizes and types of best management practices, which will be used to reduce stormwater pollution arising from construction works;
(xii) Should small scale dredging be required, the Applicant shall evaluate and quantify the possible impacts arising from the dredging works. The Applicant shall identify clearly the nature, extent and rate of the dredging works, and the volume of sediment disturbed. Appropriate laboratory tests such as elutriate tests (USACE) and sediment pore water (interstitial water) analyses shall be performed on the sediment samples to simulate and quantify the degree of mobilization of various contaminants such as metals, ammonia, trace organic contaminants such as PCBs, PAHs, TBT and chlorinated pesticides into the water column during dredging. Identification and quantification of all dredging, fill extraction, filling, mud/sediment transportation and disposal activities and requirements. Potential fill source and dumping ground to be involved shall also be identified. Field investigation, sampling and chemical and biological laboratory tests to characterise the sediment/mud concerned shall be conducted as appropriate. The ranges of parameters to be analysed; the number, type and methods of sampling; sample preservation; chemical and biological laboratory test method to be used shall be subject to the approval of the Director. The categories of sediments which require different types of disposal in accordance with WBTC No. 3/2000 shall be identified by both chemical and biological tests, and their quantities shall be estimated. If the presence of any seriously contaminated sediment which requires Type 3 disposal is confirmed, the Applicant shall identify the most appropriate treatment and/or disposal arrangement and demonstrate its feasibility. Identification and evaluation of the best practicable dredging methods to minimize dredging and dumping requirements and demand for fill sources based on the criterion that existing sediments shall be left in place and not to be disturbed as far as possible.
(xiii) The small scale dredging works mentioned in (xii) and with the prior written approval by the Director, the Applicant shall assess the potential increase in turbidity and suspended solids levels in the water column due to disturbance of sediments during dredging. The potential for release of contaminants during dredging shall also be addressed using the chemical testing results derived from sediment samples collected on site and relevant historic data;
(xiv) The Applicant shall identify whether the discharge of runoff into the coastal waters of Hebe Haven, Sha Ha and Inner Port Shelter during the operation phases will give rise to adverse impacts on water quality in accordance with the TM. The Applicant shall evaluate any water quality impacts, including changes in sediment erosion or deposition pattern, downstream salinity profile and effect on aquatic organisms. This assessment shall have regard for the frequency, duration, volume and flow rate of the discharge and its pollutant and sediment load;
(xv) The Applicant shall assess the effect of the brackish tidal influence from coastal waters of Hebe Haven, Sha Ha and Inner Port Shelter; propose mitigation measures such as tidal barriers/flow management devices and evaluate the environmental benefits/dis-benefits of mitigation measures.
Waste Water and Non-point Sources Pollution
(xvi) Proposals for effective and practicable infrastructure upgrading or provision, water pollution prevention and mitigation measures to be implemented during the construction and operation stages to reduce the water quality impacts to within acceptable levels of standards. Requirements to be incorporated in the project contract document shall also be proposed;
(xvii) Best management practices to reduce storm water and non-point source pollution shall be investigated and proposed as appropriate;
(xviii) Evaluation and quantification of residual impacts on the water system(s) and the sensitive receivers with regard to the appropriate water quality criteria, standards or guidelines.
Protection Against Accidental Spillage
(xix) Specification of an emergency contingency plan for the construction and operation phase of the proposed project to contain and remove all accidental spillage along the channel maintenance road(s)/haul road(s) at short notice and to prevent or to minimize the quantities of contaminants from reaching the water bodies and sensitive habitats.
3.4.4 Waste Management Implications
220.127.116.11 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing waste management implications as stated in Annexes 7 and 15 of the TM respectively.
18.104.22.168 The assessment of waste management implications shall cover the following:
(i) Analysis of Activities and Waste Generation
Identification of the quantity, quality and timing of the waste arising as a result of the construction and operation activities, based on the sequence and duration of these activities;
(ii) Proposal for Waste Management(a) Prior to considering the disposal options for various types of wastes, opportunities for reducing waste generation and on-site or off-site re-use shall be fully evaluated. Measures, which can be taken in the planning and design stages e.g. by modifying the design approach and in the construction stage for maximizing waste reduction shall be separately considered;
(b) After considering all the opportunities for reducing waste generation and maximizing re-use, the types and quantities of the wastes required to be disposed of as a consequence shall be estimated and the disposal options for each type of waste shall be described in detail. Pre-treatment processes for slurry before disposal shall be addressed in details. The disposal method recommended for each type of waste shall take into account the result of the assessment in (c) below; and
(c) The impact caused by handling (including labelling, packaging & storage), collection, and disposal of wastes shall be addressed in detail and appropriate mitigation measures be proposed. This assessment shall cover the following areas:
- potential hazard;
- air and odour emissions;
- wastewater discharge; and
- public transport.
(iii) Land Contamination Assessment:(a) Identify all land lots/sites within the study area boundary which, due to their past or present land uses, are potential contaminated sites. A detailed account of the present activities and past land history in relation to possible land contamination should be provided;
(b) The list of potential contaminants which are anticipated to be found in these potentially contaminated sites should be provided, and the possible remediation options should be provided.
3.4.5 Ecological Impact (Both Terrestrial and Aquatic)
22.214.171.124 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing ecological impact as stated in Annexes 8 and 16 of the TM respectively. The assessment area for the purpose of terrestrial ecological assessment shall include all areas within 500 m distance from the site boundary of the works areas, or the area likely to be impacted by the proposed project. For aquatic ecology, the assessment area shall be the same as for the water quality assessment described in section 126.96.36.199.
188.8.131.52 (i) The captioned project involves channelization of natural rivers and riparian habitats, which will disturb the bottom sediments and alter water movement of the three rivers (Sai Kung River, Pak Kong River, Ho Chung River). Therefore the flora and fauna living in or associated with the rivers may be significantly and negatively affected by the project. In particular, Ho Chung valley was identified as ecologically important habitats for wildlife, and some fauna are associated with stream habitats (City Planning Consultants Ltd. 2000. Study on South East New Territories Development Strategy Review: Volume II Landscape and Conservation Assessment. Planning Department, Hong Kong). As such, the ecological baseline of the three rivers should be properly established, the environmental impact from the project thoroughly assessed and effective mitigation measures suggested in the future EIA;
(ii) In the ecological impact assessment, the Applicant shall examine the flora, fauna and other components of the ecological habitats within the assessment area. The aim shall be to protect, maintain or rehabilitate the natural environment. The assessment shall identify and quantify as far as possible the potential ecological impacts associated with the proposed project, including the impacts of any haul roads and temporary access. The potential impact on water quality and aquatic ecology from the discharge of stormwater into the coastal waters during the operational phase shall also be addressed.
184.108.40.206 The assessment shall include the following:
(i) A review of the findings of relevant studies and collating all the available information regarding the ecological characters of the assessment area;
(ii) Evaluation of the information collected and identification of any information gap relating to the assessment of potential ecological impacts to the terrestrial and aquatic environment;
(iii) Carrying out the necessary field surveys (the duration of which shall be at least 9 months and shall cover both the wet and dry seasons) and investigations to verify the information collected, fill the information gaps identified and fulfil the objectives of the EIA study;
(iv) Establishing the general ecological profile and describing the characteristics of each habitat found; major information to be provided shall include:(a) description of the physical environment;
(b) habitat maps of suitable scale (1:1000 to 1:5000) showing the types and locations of habitats in the assessment area;
(c) description of the ecological characteristics of each habitat type including size, vegetation type, species present, dominant species found, species diversity and abundance, community structure, seasonality and inter-dependence of the habitats and species, and presence of any features of ecological importance;
(d) representative colour photos of each habitat type and of any important ecological features identified;
(e) species found that are rare, endangered and/or listed under local legislation, international conventions for conservation of wildlife/habitats or red data books;
(v) Investigation and description of the existing wildlife uses of relevant habitats with special attention to those wildlife groups and habitats of conservation interests; including:(a) woodlands;
(b) natural stream courses;
(d) natural coastlines;
(f) vertebrates (e.g. avifauna, mammals, fish);
(g) macro-invertebrates (e.g. dragonflies, butterflies, stream fauna);
(h) and any other habitats and wildlife groups identified as having special conservation interests by this EIA study;
(vi) Description of all recognized sites of conservation importance in the proposed project site and its vicinity and assessment of whether these sites will be affected by the proposed project or not;
(vii) Using suitable methodology, identification and quantification as far as possible of any direct, indirect, on-site, off-site, primary, secondary and cumulative ecological impacts such as destruction of habitats, reduction of species abundance/diversity, loss of feeding grounds, reduction of ecological carrying capacity, habitat fragmentation; and in particular the following;(a) habitat loss and disturbance to waterfowl and aquatic life during construction stage;
(b) impacts on flora and fauna living in or associated with the stream, such as fauna in Ho Chung Valley and estuarine fish at the mouth of Ho Chung River, during construction stage and operational stage;
(c) operational impacts on aquatic life and other wildlife through periodic storm discharges at the portal;
(viii) Evaluation of the significance and acceptability of the ecological impacts identified using well-defined criteria;
(ix) Recommendations for all possible alternatives, such as modifications of alignment, layout and design and practicable mitigation measures to avoid, minimize and/or compensate for the adverse ecological impacts identified, such as reinstatement of habitats temporarily affected by the proposed project to its original state and if possible with some enhancement features;
(x) Evaluation of the feasibility and effectiveness of the recommended mitigation measures and definition of the scope, type, location, implementation arrangement, resources requirement, subsequent management and maintenance of such measures;
(xi) To minimize disturbance to the ecology of the three rivers, the future EIA should also aim at minimizing the channelization area of the three rivers. If channelization is inevitable, disturbance to the substrate and landscape of the rivers should be minimized and the types of bank lining which can best preserve the natural structure and substrate of the rivers should be chosen;
(xii) In section 3.2 of the Project Profile, it is noted that works will be scheduled to the dry season to minimize water movement disruption. However, in section 5.1 of the Project Profile, it is also noted that to avoid disturbance to the egretry at Pak Kong River, works will be scheduled to avoid the breeding season of egrets. Egrets in Hong Kong generally breed between November and February, which overlap with the dry season in Hong Kong. Such conflicts in timing of works should be solved so that both water movement disruption and disturbance to the Pak Kong egretry can be minimized;
(xiii) The future EIA should address the impact on aquatic wildlife in streams due to this project as there is no such assessment of possible impacts on the project profile. The habitants of the streams / rivers, i.e. aquatic wildlife, will be firstly affected by the project;
(xiv) The future EIA should also address the impact on estuarine fish, in particular, those at the river mouth of Ho Chung River, as estuaries are regarded as important breeding and nursery grounds of estuarine fish. Channelization of river mouth may result in degradation of existing functions of these streams / rivers due to changing of natural habitats to man-made;
(xv) Determination and quantification as far as possible of the residual ecological impacts after implementation of the proposed mitigation measures;
(xvi) Evaluation of the severity and acceptability of the residual ecological impacts using well-defined criteria;
(xvii) A review of the need for and recommendation for any ecological monitoring programme is required; and
(xviii) Planning on the ecological monitoring after channelization of the three rivers should be included in the future EIA to assess the successfulness of recolonization of flora and fauna in the disturbed rivers and riparian habitats. Contingency habitat rehabilitation plan should also be considered in the EIA, in case wildlife recolonization is shown to be unsuccessful.
3.4.6 Landscape and Visual Impact
220.127.116.11 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines as stated in section 1 of Annex 10 and Annex 18 of the TM respectively for evaluating and assessing landscape and visual impacts of any above ground structures and work areas associated with the proposed project. Landscape and visual impacts during both construction and operation phases within the assessment area shall be assessed.
18.104.22.168 The assessment area for landscape impact assessment shall include all areas within a 500 m distance from the proposed project while the assessment area for the visual impact assessment shall be defined by the visual envelope of the proposed project.
22.214.171.124 The Applicant shall review relevant outline development plan(s), outline zoning plan(s), layout plan(s) or planning briefs and studies which may identify areas of high landscape value and recommend country park, conservation area, recreation area and green belt designations. Any guidelines on landscape strategy, landscape framework, designated view corridors, open space network and landscape link that may affect the appreciation of the proposed project shall also be reviewed. The aim is to gain an insight into the future outlook of the area affected so as to assess whether the proposed project can fit into the surrounding setting. Any conflict with statutory land use plan(s) should be highlighted and appropriate follow-up action should be recommended.
126.96.36.199 The Applicant shall describe, appraise, analyse and evaluate the existing landscape resources and character of the assessment area. A system should be derived for judging landscape and visual impact significance as required under the TM. The sensitivity of the landscape framework and its ability to accommodate change shall be particularly focused on. The Applicant shall identify the degree of compatibility of the proposed project with the existing and planned landscape setting. The landscape impact assessment shall quantify the potential landscape impact as far as possible so as to illustrate the significance of such impacts arising from the proposed project. Clear mapping of the landscape impact is required. A tree survey shall be carried out and the impacts on existing mature trees shall be addressed.
188.8.131.52 The Applicant shall assess the visual impacts of the proposed project. Clear illustration including mapping of visual impact is required. The assessment shall include the following:(i) identification and plotting of visual envelope of the proposed project within the assessment area;
(ii) identification of the key groups of sensitive receivers within the visual envelope with regard to views from both ground level and elevated vantage points;
(iii) description of the visual compatibility of the proposed project such as channel wall, possible inflatable weirs and associated pumping station with the surrounding and the planned setting, and its obstruction arid interference with key views of the adjacent areas; and
(iv) the severity of visual impacts in terms of distance, nature and number of sensitive receivers shall be identified. The visual impacts of the proposed project with and without mitigation measures shall be included so as to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures.
184.108.40.206 The Applicant shall evaluate the merits of preservation in totality, in parts of total destruction of existing landscape. In addition, alternative alignment design and construction method that would avoid or reduce the landscape and visual impact shall be evaluated for comparison before adopting other mitigation or compensatory measures to alleviate the impacts. The mitigation measures proposed shall not only be concerned with damage reduction but should also include consideration of potential enhancement of existing landscape. The Applicant shall recommend mitigation measures to minimize the adverse effects identified above, including provision of a landscape design.
220.127.116.11 The mitigation measures shall also include the preservation of vegetation, transplanting of mature trees, provision of screen planting, re-vegetation of disturbed lands, compensatory planting, design of structure, provision of finishes to structure, colour scheme and texture of material used and any measures to mitigate the disturbance of the existing land use. Parties shall be identified for the on-going management and maintenance of the proposed mitigation works to ensure their effectiveness throughout the operation phase of the proposed project. A practical programme and funding proposal for the implementation of the recommended measures shall be provided.
18.104.22.168 Annotated illustration materials such as coloured perspective drawings, plans and section/elevation diagrams, oblique aerial photographs and computer-generated photomontage shall be adopted to fully illustrate the landscape and visual impacts of the proposed project to the satisfaction of the Director. The Applicant shall record the technical details in preparing the illustration, which may need to be submitted for verification of the accuracy of the illustration.
3.4.7 Impact on Cultural Heritage
22.214.171.124 The Applicant shall follow the criteria and guidelines for evaluating and assessing the cultural heritage impacts as stated in section 2 of Annex 10 and sections 1 and 2 of Annex 19 of the TM respectively.
126.96.36.199 The cultural heritage impact assessment shall include the following:(i) The Applicant shall identify all cultural heritage sites that might be adversely affected by the impacts due to vibration associated with the construction activities of the proposed project. The inventory shall include pre-1950 buildings and structures, post-1950 buildings and structure of high architectural and historical significance, and historic landscape features (e.g. sites of historical events, sites providing a significant historical record, a setting for buildings/monuments of architectural/archaeological importance, historic field patterns, tracks, fish ponds and cultural elements (i.e. fung shui woodlands and clan graves).
(ii) The Applicant shall assess the extent to which those cultural heritage sites might be directly and indirectly affected and recommend possible alternatives (such as modification of layout and design of the proposed project) and practicable monitoring and mitigation measures to be agreed with the Director to avoid or keep the adverse impacts on the cultural heritage sites to the minimum. Besides, a checklist including all the affected cultural heritage sites, impacts identified, recommended mitigation measures as well as the implementation agent and period shall also be included in the EIA report.
(iii) In case where the sources of information prove to be inadequate or where the proposed project area has not been adequately studied before, field surveys and site investigations shall be conducted to assemble the necessary data. Regarding the assessment study on cultural heritage, it shall be conducted by qualified persons with proven records to archaeological and historical building research works in Hong Kong. The archaeological survey shall be carried out by a qualified archaeologist who shall obtain a License from the Antiquity Authority before undertaking the field evaluation under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap.53).
(iv) The information of all the identified archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures including their ownership, historical background, 1:1000 scale location plans, photographs and the like together with the nearby work areas shall be provided. Special attention shall be paid to the historic buildings and structures in the vicinity of the proposed project including the following historic building:
Che Kung Temple at Ho Chung (Grade II Historic Building)
4. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING & AUDIT (EM&A) REQUIREMENTS
4.1 The Applicant shall identify in the EIA study whether there is any need for EM&A activities during the construction and operation phases of the proposed project and, if affirmative, to define the scope of the EM&A requirements for the proposed project in the EIA study.
4.2 Subject to the confirmation of the EIA study findings, the Applicant shall comply with the requirements as stipulated in Annex 21 of the TM. The Applicant shall also propose real-time reporting of monitoring data for the proposed project through a dedicated internet website.
4.3 The Applicant shall prepare a project implementation schedule, in the form of a checklist as shown in Appendix 1 attached to this study brief, containing all the EIA study recommendations and mitigation measures with reference to the implementation programme.
5. SUMMARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL OUTCOMES
5.1 The EIA report shall contain a summary of the key environmental outcomes arising from the EIA study, including the population and environmentally sensitive areas protected, environmentally friendly designs recommended, key environmental problems avoided, and environmental benefits of environmental protection measures recommended.
6. DURATION OF VALIDITY
6.1 If the EIA study does not commence within 36 months after the date of issue of this study brief, the Applicant shall apply to the Director for a fresh EIA study brief before commencement of the EIA study.
7. REPORT REQUIREMENTS
7.1 In preparing the EIA report, the Applicant shall refer to Annex 11 of the TM for the contents of an EIA report. The Applicant shall also refer to Annex 20 of the TM which stipulates the guidelines for the review of an EIA report.
7.2 The Applicant shall supply the Director with the following number of copies of the EIA report and the executive summary:
(i) 50 copies of the EIA report in English and 80 copies of the executive summary (each bilingual in both English and Chinese) as required under section 6(2) of the EIAO to be supplied at the time of application for approval of the EIA report.
(ii) when necessary, any addendum to the EIA report and the executive summary submitted in (i) above as required under section 7(1) of the EIAO, to be supplied upon advice by the Director for public inspection.
(iii) 20 copies of the EIA report in English and 50 copies of the executive summary (each bilingual in both English and Chinese) with or without Addendum as required under section 7(5) of the EIAO, to be supplied upon advice by the Director for consultation with the Advisory Council on the Environment.
7.3 The Applicant shall, upon request, make additional copies of the above documents available to the public, subject to payment by the interested parties of full costs of printing.
7.4 In addition, to facilitate the public inspection of the EIA report via the EIAO Internet Website, the Applicant shall provide electronic copies of both the EIA report and the executive summary prepared in Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) (version 4.0 or later) and in Portable Document Format (PDF)(version 4.0 or later), unless otherwise agreed by the Director. For the HTML version, a content page capable of providing hyperlinks to each section and sub-section of the EIA report and the executive summary shall be included in the beginning of the document. Hyperlinks to all figures, drawings and tables in the EIA report and executive summary shall be provided in the main text from where the respective references are made. All graphics in the report shall be in interlaced GIF format unless otherwise agreed by the Director.
7.5 The electronic copies of the EIA report and the executive summary shall be submitted to the Director at the time of application for approval of the EIA report.
7.6 When the EIA report and the executive summary are made available for public inspection under section 7(1) of the EIAO, the content of the electronic copies of the EIA report and the executive summary must be the same as the hard copies and the Director shall be provided with the most up to date electronic copies.
7.7 To promote environmentally friendly and efficient dissemination of information, both hard copies and electronic copies of future EM&A reports recommended by the EIA study shall be required and their format shall be agreed by the Director.
8. OTHER PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS
8.1 If there is any change in the name of the Applicant for this EIA study brief, the Applicant mentioned in this study brief must notify the Director immediately.
8.2 If there is any key change in the scope of the proposed project mentioned in section 1.2 of this EIA study brief and in Project Profile (No. PP-149/2001), the Applicant must seek confirmation from the Director in writing on whether or not the scope of issues covered by this EIA study brief can still cover the key changes, and the additional issues, if any, that the EIA study must also address. If the changes to the proposed project fundamentally alter the key scope of the EIA study brief, the Applicant shall apply to the Director for a fresh EIA study brief.
EIA Study Brief No. ESB-088/2001