Advisory Council on the Environment


Confirmed Minutes of the 66th Meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 27 September 1999 at 2:30 p.m.


Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)
Mr. Clement CHEN
Mr. Barrie COOK
Mr. Paul C. H. FAN
Dr. HO Kin-chung
Professor LAM Kin-che
Mr. Edwin LAU
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH
Ms Iris TAM
Miss Alex YAU
Mr. Plato YIP
Mrs. Philomena LEUNG (Secretary) (PAS(E)3, PELB)

Absent with Apologies:

Mr. CHAN Kwok-wai, JP
Professor Peter HILLS
Mr. Joseph LAU Man-wai, JP
Professor Anthony HEDLEY, JP
The Hon. Dr. LEONG Che-hung
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP
Mr. Otto L. T. POON
Mr. TAN Teng Huat

In Attendance:


Mr. Gordon SIU Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (SPEL)
Mr. Kim SALKELD Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (Environment) (DS(E), PELB)
Mr. Rob LAW Director of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Mr. Bosco FUNG Director of Planning (D of Plan)
Mr. Richard YIP Deputy Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (DD, AFD)
Mr. David CHAN Principal Information Officer, Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
Ms. Polly LEUNG Principal Information Officer, EPD (Designate)
Mr. Eugene FUNG Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment & Lands (Environment) 4
Miss Cora SO Executive Officer (Environment), Planning, Environment & Lands Bureau (PELB)
In Attendance for Agenda Item 4:
Mr. C K Li Chief Town Planner (Sub-Regional Planning), Planning Department (Plan D) (CTP, Plan D)
Mr. C W Li Senior Engineer (New Territories Lantau & Special Duties), Transport Department (TD) (SE, TD)
Mr. Terence Tsang Acting Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Assessment & Audit), EPD (Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD)
Mr. C H Leung Senior Country Parks Officer (Planning), Agriculture & Fisheries Department (AFD) (SCPO, AFD)
Mr. Edward Wong Senior Marine Parks Officer, AFD (SMPO, AFD)
In Attendance for Agenda Item 5:
Prof. Allen Chwang Head of Mechanical Engineering Department, the University of Hong Kong (Prof, HKU)
Mr. Luk Fuk-man Chief Engineer (Technical Services), Civil Engineering Department (CED) (CE(TS), CED)
Mr. Li Kam-sang Senior Engineer (Technical Services), CED (SE(TS), CED)
Mr. K M Lee Assistant Director of Marine (Port Control) (AD, MD)
In Attendance for Agenda Item 6:
Mr. W K Tam Assistant Director of Civil Engineering (Special Duties) (AD, CED)
Mr. W K Ko Chief Engineer (Special Duties), CED (CE(SD), CED)
Mr. A R Arul Kumarasan Consultant, Scott Wilson (Cons, SW)
Mr. Terence Tsang Acting Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Assessment & Audit), EPD (Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD)
In Attendance for Agenda Item 7:
Mr. Patrick Lei Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Waste Policy & Services), EPD (PEPO(WP), EPD)
Mr. Anthony Fok Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Waste Policy & Services), EPD (SEPO(WP), EPD)


The Chairman welcomed Ms. Polly Leung to the meeting. Ms. Leung would take over from Mr. David Chan as EPD's Principal Information Officer upon the latter's transfer. The Chairman said that he would like to place on record Mr. Chan's contributions to this Council.

Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of 64th and 65th Meetings held on 19 July 1999 and 30 August 1999 respectively

2.The minutes of the 64th meeting were confirmed, subject to the amendments proposed by a Member on paragraph 5 as attached. The minutes of the 65th meeting were confirmed without amendments.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Para. 3 : Visit to the Environmental Protection Bureau of Guangdong

3.Members noted that the visit had been postponed to November 1999. The Secretariat would inform Members of the exact dates in due course.

Para. 4 : Shotcreted Slopes

4.The Chairman noted that the Secretariat would send him and Members a briefing note which would explain how the Highways Department (Hy D) designed and managed slopes. He said he would decide whether there was a need to invite Hy D to attend a future meeting after reading the briefing note.

5.The Chairman said he was pleased that there was no reported landslide during the typhoon the week before. He said that he would like to place on record his appreciation of CED and Hy D's efforts in maintaining slope safety.

Para. 33 : Target dates for HK's major rivers and marine waters to meet their water quality objectives

6.Members noted that EPD was reviewing the present situation and would revert shortly.

Agenda Item 3 : Report of the 46th EIA Subcommittee Meeting
(ACE Paper 36/99)

7.The EIA Subcommittee Chairman reported that the Subcommittee had considered two EIA reports, namely "Route 9 between Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan" and "Sai Sha Road Widening between Kam Ying Road and Proposed Road T7 Junction", and recommended that both be endorsed without conditions. Also, the Subcommittee had examined a progress report on KCRC East Rail Extensions - Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line.

8.The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to endorse the two EIA reports without conditions.

9.The EIA Subcommittee Chairman said that EIA Subcommittee members would like to receive copies of the study briefs for major planning studies. He said that such information would enable Members to take future planning intention into account when considering EIA reports. The Chairman requested the Secretariat to work out arrangements for disseminating the study briefs to Sub-committee members.

[Post-meeting note : the issue about providing study briefs for major planning studies to Members had been discussed at the meeting on 2 March 1999. It was agreed that Planning Department (Plan D) would provide Members with outlines of study briefs for major planning studies. The Secretariat would liaise with Plan D to ensure that these outlines were issued to Members when major planning studies arose.]

10.The Chairman said that some of the existing mitigation measures used by project proponents, such as the provision of double glazing and air-conditioners to individual premises to lessen the noise level from traffic in a way compromised the interest of the people affected. He requested the Subcommittee to identify whether there could be other viable alternatives. DS(E), PELB informed Members that the Working Group on Improving the Urban Environment, which was one of the four working groups set up after the Environmental Forums held in March 1999, had also discussed the effectiveness of the existing mitigation measures. He said that the Working Group would submit its recommendations to SPEL shortly and PELB would take these recommendations into consideration in formulating a framework for discussion at the next Environmental Forum.

Agenda Item 4 : South West New Territories Development Strategy Review - Draft Recommended Strategy
(ACE paper 37/99)

11.The Chairman welcomed the presentation team to the meeting. CTP, Plan D briefed Members on the major findings of the Review and the Draft Recommended Strategy (DRS).

12.The Chairman said that while the Draft Strategy had emphasized the importance of striking a balance between development and conservation for Lantau, the Administration did not seem to have taken any concrete actions to put this into practice. He said that the proposal for building the Lantau North-south Link, which would cut across natural areas of probably the highest remaining ecological value and would generate irreversible environmental impact to the Tai Ho Stream, reflected that the Administration was just paying lip service to conservation. CTP, Plan D said that the DRS acknowledged the need to conserve sites of ecological importance on Lantau. Areas which deserved protection would be designated as conservation areas, country parks, Special Areas or Sites of Special Scientific Interests (SSSI) as appropriate. These areas would be recommended as development 'No Go' Areas under the Recommended Strategy. He said that an EIA study was being carried out for the proposed Lantau North-south Link to ascertain whether the project was environmentally acceptable, to identify the environmental impacts and to propose environmental mitigation measures. He said that the ACE would be consulted on the EIA report when it was completed. In view of Members' concern about the proposed Lantau North-south Link, the Chairman said that the EIA report for the Lantau North-south Link might deserve a full discussion at the main Council rather than at the EIA Subcommittee. He said that he would make a decision on this when the EIA report had arrived.

13.A Member said that given the ecological and conservation values of various parts of Lantau, particularly the Tai Ho Stream and the southern part of Lantau, the Administration should carry out a strategic EIA covering the whole Lantau to look at the overall and cumulative impact of the proposed developments there, rather than an individual EIA for individual development projects. The strategic EIA should also look at issues such as the mode of transport to be adopted on Lantau, the external transport link and the traffic management framework, taking into account the environmental impacts of different transport modes. He said that the possibility of wider use of ferry services to provide the linkage between the northern and southern part of Lantau should be seriously considered. Another Memner concurred and said that conservation could not be achieved in isolation. Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD said that although the Administration had not carried out a single strategic environmental assessment for the whole Lantau, there had been two comprehensive EIA studies being carried out to address the cumulative impacts for all the proposed developments in north Lantau. The Chairman said that EIA for the southern part of Lantau should also be carried out since that part of Lantau was largely undeveloped and was particularly vulnerable to environmental impacts even from a small amount of developments. Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD concurred with the Chairman and said that according to the Recommended Strategy, a comprehensive planning study would be carried out for the southern part of Lantau at a later stage.

14.A Member was concerned that the reclamation works related to the North Shore Lantau Development project would reduce the number of outlets of the Tai Ho Stream, thereby affecting the hydraulics of the Stream. He asked whether Tai Ho Wan would be designated as SSSI. Also, another Member was of the view that the entire Tai Ho Stream should be protected. He said that even if the proposed Lantau North-south Link would not have direct environmental impacts to the Stream, the additional traffic and new developments that the new road would attract to Lantau would. CTP, Plan D said that one of the proposals of the DRS was to designate Tai Ho Wan as SSSI, but the details had yet to be worked out by AFD.

15.In response to a Member's query, CTP, Plan D said that the reclamation site for the proposed theme park was indeed earmarked for Container Terminals (CT) 10 and 11. While there were no concrete plans at this time for developing CT 10 and 11 in the short term, there was on the other hand no firm decision to shelve the container terminal projects either. He said that if a decision was subsequently made to construct the theme park at the proposed site, another site search would be carried out for the container terminals.

16.A Member said that it was not sufficient for the Administration to identify and designate areas of ecological importance as Special Areas, Conservation Areas or SSSI. She said that without proper implementation of the Strategy and proper resources and management of the designated areas, the conservation intention could hardly be fulfilled. She said that AFD could be a suitable candidate to assume the management responsibility but had to be given additional resources to do so. CTP, Plan D said that they would look into the management issue and its resource implications when finalising the Strategy.

17.Noting that this Council had endorsed the EIA report for a low-level radiation waste disposal facility at Siu A Chau a few years ago, a Member asked when works would commence. DEP said that the project had been shelved as it was considered not cost effective to build a specific facility up to international standard to handle the very small amount of low-level radiation waste that was now generated locally.

18.In response to a Member's query, CTP, Plan D said that the Administration would consider the introduction of environmental friendly modes of transport, such as trolley buses on Lantau. The Administration was also considering the cable car proposal which would link Tung Chung with Ngong Ping.

19.In response to the Chairman's query, Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD said that the Air Pollution Index (API) was high in Tung Chung because of its geographical location: Tung Chung received many air pollutants generated from other parts of Hong Kong. The air quality was particularly poor in the Tung Chung Valley and ozone was the primary source of pollution. DEP added that the ozone level in Tung Chung was already high before the new airport was built. DS(E), PELB said that because of the poor air quality in the Tung Chung Valley, new developments were therefore concentrated on the reclaimed land in Tung Chung where the sea breeze would help disperse the air pollutants.

Plan D
20.A Member said that the proposed Lantau North-south Link was an integral part of the entire Lantau development and should not be considered in isolation. SPEL said that, apart from the EIA report, the project proponent would be requested to submit other related information, such as the tunnel option, the proposed reclamation works at Tai Ho Wan and their ecological impacts to the Tai Ho Stream, for Members' consideration. Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD undertook to convey this to the project proponent.

21.The Chairman thanked CTP, Plan D et. al. for the briefing and said that he looked forward to seeing the finalized Strategy.

Agenda Item 5 : Study on Inner Harbour Waves and Their Reduction - Findings and Recommendations
(ACE Paper 38/99)

22.The Chairman welcomed Prof, HKU, CE(TS), CED, SD(TS), CED and AD, MD to the meeting. Prof, HKU presented to Members the findings and recommendations of the Study.

23.Noting that the coastline of Victoria Harbour was rather straight, the Chairman asked whether a coastline with more indentations would help dissipate the wave energy. Prof, HKU said that any changes in the configuration of the Harbour would lead to changes in the wave climate of the Harbour. However, to work out the detailed changes of the wave climate in the Harbour would require complicated calculations and predictions.

24.In response to a Member's query, CE(TS), CED said that the wave-energy-absorbing seawall would be five to six times more expensive than the conventional type of seawall. For example, it would cost the Government $120 million more to replace the 1.6 km seawall at Sai Ying Pun with the wave-absorbing seawall, when compared with the construction cost of conventional seawall.

25.In response to the Chairman's query, Prof, HKU explained in detail the design of the wave-energy-absorbing seawall. Members noted that the wave-energy-absorbing seawall could dissipate 50% of the wave energy by creating an anti-wave. Noting that the deteriorating wave condition in Victoria Harbour was mainly caused by high speed and high power vessels of the displacement type, such as tugboats and "turbo-cats", the Chairman remarked that ferry companies that operated those vessels should bear part of the costs for the construction of the wave-energy-absorbing seawalls, if they continue acting as at present.

26.A Member asked whether it was technically feasible and cost-effective to retrofit existing seawalls, and whether floating refuse would affect the effectiveness of the wave-energy-absorbing seawall, which had pores on one of its surface. Prof, HKU said that retrofitting existing seawalls was technically feasible in principle. However, the actual engineering works required would depend on the location and structure of the existing seawalls. He said that the Study had indicated that wave-energy-absorbing seawalls would only be needed at various critical sections of the Harbour. He further said that the design of the wave-energy-absorbing seawall had taken into account the presence of floating refuse in the Harbour.

27.In response to a Member's query, Prof, HKU said that a vertical wave-energy-absorbing seawall was better than a tilted impermeable one because the former could dissipate 50% of the wave energy whereas the latter could only dissipate 10% to 25% of the wave energy. Moreover, there would be practical difficulties for vessels to berth against a tilted seawall.

28.A Member asked whether re-designing the tugboats and "turbo-cats" would reduce the waves in Victoria Harbour. Prof, HKU said that re-designing the vessels could resolve some of the problems. However, since the use of such vessels in other places had not posed such acute wave problem as in Hong Kong, the manufacturers might not consider it cost-effective to re-design their vessels to suit Hong Kong's need. He said that the Marine Department could however consider limiting the speed of these vessels inside Victoria Harbour.

29.In response to a Member's query, D of Plan said that the Administration would consider adopting the wave-energy-absorbing seawall in future reclamation.

30.The Chairman thanked Prof, HKU, CE(TS), CED, SE(TS), CED and AD, MD for the presentation and requested departments concerned to seriously consider adopting the wave-energy-absorbing seawall as appropriate in order to improve the wave climate in Victoria Harbour.

Agenda Item 6 : Gazetting of Penny's Bay Reclamation
(ACE Paper 39/99)

31.The Chairman welcomed the presentation team to the meeting. AD, CED briefed Members on the paper.

32.A Member declared interest because her company was involved in the North-shore Lantau Development Feasibility Study.

33.In response to a Member's query, Atg. PEPO(AA), EPD explained that the location of the proposed theme park was within the proposed reclamation area for the Lantau Port Development Phases I and II, which EIA this Council had endorsed a few years ago and authorization of works was gazetted under the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamation) Ordinance (FSRO) in March 1994. Since the reclamation works were authorized under the FSRO before the commencement of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) in 1998, they would have been exempted under the EIAO. However as there were changes in the land use (i.e. from container terminals to the theme park), the project proponent decided to re-gazette the reclamation works under the FSRO. Hence the previous exemption under the EIAO was waived and the project proponent would have to obtain an environmental permit form the Director of Environmental Protection for the reclamation works. He added that a Schedule 2 EIA for the theme park development, which would comprise the impact assessment for the construction and operation of the proposed theme park and associated facilities, would be carried out shortly. Members would be consulted on the outcome of that EIA upon completion.

34.A Member said that, given the shortage in the capacity of the public filling areas and the sheer amount of construction and demolition (C&D) materials generated in Hong Kong per annum, it was crucial that the proposed reclamation works be required to accommodate public fill. He was therefore pleased that the project proponent had undertaken to work out a strategy for accommodating public fill in the contract works and brief this Council on the outcome in early 2000.

35.The Chairman was concerned that the Administration would fast track the theme park project so that it did not have to go through the proper EIAO procedures. AD, CED assured Members that the project would have to go through all EIAO procedures, including public consultation, before construction works could start. The Chairman asked and AD, CED said that the proposed reclamation works for the theme park would be gazetted in October 1999.

Agenda Item 7 : Dumping at Sea (Amendment) Bill
(ACE Paper 40/99)

36.The Chairman welcomed PEPO(WP), EPD and SEPO(WP), EPD to the meeting. PAS(E)3, PELB briefed Members on the Administration's proposal to amend the Dumping at Sea Ordinance (DASO) to specify the types of reclamation which should be subject to DASO's control.

37.In response to a Member's query, PEPO(WP), EPD said that reclamation carried out at mangrove areas had to be authorized through gazetting under the FSRO.

38.The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to endorse the proposal.

Agenda Item 8 : Any Other Business

Tentative Schedule of Work for ACE in 1999

39.A Member asked when would Members be briefed on the proposal for constructing the waste-to-energy incineration facilities. DEP said that EPD was reviewing the proposal in view of the dioxin issue and would consult Members at a later stage.

Agenda Item 9 : Date of Next Meeting

40.The Chairman said that the next meeting was originally scheduled for 26 October. However, the Administration would like an early opportunity to brief Members on the Policy Address after it was delivered by the Chief Executive on 6 October. The next meeting would therefore be advanced to 15 October (Friday) at 9:30am.

Plan D


Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
October 1999


Back to topdot_clear.gifTable of Content
User defined date2: 
Friday, 28 April, 2006