Advisory Council on the Environment

Draft Minutes of the 99th Meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 27 August 2002 at 2:30 p.m.


Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)
Mr. Barrie COOK  
Prof. Peter HILLS  
Dr. HO Kin-chung  
Mr. Edward S. T. HO, SBS, JP  
Prof. LAM Kin-che, JP  
Mr. Peter Y. C. LEE  
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming  
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP  
Mr. Otto L. T. POON  
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH  
Ms. Iris TAM, JP  
Ms. Jessie WONG (Secretary)  

Absent with Apologies:
Mr. Daniel M. C. CHENG
Prof. Anthony HEDLEY, BBS, JP
Mr. KWOK Kwok-chuen, BBS
Prof. Dennis S. C. LAM
Dr. LEONG Che-hung, GBS, JP
Mr. LOH Ah Tuan
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Mrs. Mei NG
Prof. WONG Yuk-shan, JP
Miss Alex YAU


In Attendance:

Mrs. Rita LAU, JP Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment)
Mr. Thomas CHOW Deputy Secretary (E)2, ETWB
Mr. Rob LAW, JP Director of Environmental Protection
Mr. C C LAY Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Mr. P K CHUNG Acting Assistant Director (Technical Services), Planning Department
Dr. Constance CHAN Assistant Director, Department of Health
Ms. Polly LEUNG Chief Information Officer, EPD
Miss Konnie KONG Senior Information Officer, ETWB
Miss Petula POON Chief Executive Officer (E), ETWB
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (E), ETWB


Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 98th Meeting held on 29 July 2002

A Member proposed to delete the last sentence from para. 41 of the draft minutes. The minutes were confirmed subject to the proposed amendment.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Matters arising from the minutes of 97th meeting
Para. 10 : Permit condition proposed by Green Lantau Association

2. Mr. Rob Law informed the meeting that as there was no provision in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) empowering him as the approving authority to impose additional penalty against violation of the terms of an environmental permit, he had no authority to impose the requirement of a bond as a permit condition. However, he understood that the Highways Department was looking into administrative measures that could serve the same purpose.

3. Mr. Law agreed with the Chairman's suggestion that the need for such a provision should be examined if the EIAO was reviewed in future.

Matters arising from the minutes of 98th meeting
Para. 4 : Meeting with stakeholders

4. The EIA Subcommittee Chairman informed the meeting that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Subcommittee would discuss the subject of meeting with stakeholders at its next meeting.

Para. 49 : Mr. Loh Ah Tuan's visit

5. The Chairman informed Members that due to other commitments, Mr. Loh had postponed his visit to Hong Kong and hence could not attend the present meeting.

Agenda Item 3 : Report on the 73rd meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee
(ACE Paper 28/2002)

6. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman summarized the major concerns of the Subcommittee on the EIA report on Deep Bay Link (DBL) and drew Members' attention to the proposed conditions set out in para. 16 of ACE Paper 28/2002.

7. The Chairman asked about the nature of preparatory work that needed to be carried out for DBL before the completion of the EIA report on Shenzhen Western Corridor (SWC). In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that it was mainly related to land resumption.

8. A Member asked whether the project proponent had agreed to the proposed conditions. He also enquired about the implications for DBL if the EIA report on SWC was not approved. In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that the project proponent was informed of the proposed conditions at the Subcommittee meeting and had not raised any objections. As regards DBL, the project could not start construction if the EIA report on SWC was not approved. The Chairman supplemented that once agreed by the full Council, the proposed conditions would be submitted to the Director of Environmental Protection as the Council's advice and the Director had the discretion to decide whether or not to adopt the proposed conditions.

9. Referring to para. 16 (d) of the paper, a Member expressed concern and another Member concurred that the proposed condition might set a precedent of requiring a project proponent to provide alternative accommodation for residents affected by temporary residual noise impact and that would have significant implications for future designated projects, particularly if a large number of affected persons were involved. In response, the EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman clarified that the proposed condition was based on the Subcommittee's sentiment that the project proponent should look after the interest of the affected residents despite the temporary nature of the noise impact. It was just a proposal for consideration of the project proponent. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, Mr. Law said that he was not aware of any precedent case in which the project proponent provided alternative accommodation for individuals affected by residual noise impact but there had been cases of the project proponent paying the air conditioning expenses incurred by the affected households during the impact period.

10. A Member noted that the six dwellings were not qualified for the provision of air-conditioning under "existing guidelines". He asked what those guidelines were. In response, Mr. Law said that as he was not at the Subcommittee meeting, he was not certain about the context of the discussion. The guidelines might likely be those agreed among works departments to deal with excessive traffic noise impacts arising from the operation of new roads. Another Member supplemented that according to his understanding, the guidelines set out the specifications, like the magnitude and duration of exceedances, for affected parties to be qualified for the provision of air-conditioning.

11. In reply to the Member's follow-up question, Mr. Law said that the Noise Control Ordinance only governed piling activities and construction works during night hours.

12. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman said that at present there was no law governing construction activities during daytime. The practice of the EIA Subcommittee was to suggest measures to alleviate the noise impact based on the magnitude and the duration of exceedances.

13. Sharing the concerns of the above Members, another Member suggested revising the wording of para. 16(d) of the paper while retaining the spirit of taking care of the interest of the affected residents. The EIA Subcommittee Deputy Chairman suggested and Members agreed to replace the words "alternative accommodation" with "relief" in para. 16(d).

14. On para. 16(f), a Member suggested that instead of specifying the colour schemes to be or not to be adopted, the project proponent should be asked to consider designing noise barriers that would blend in with the surrounding environment. Mr. Law supplemented that aesthetic designs were subjective and that project proponents should be given as much flexibility as possible in designing noise barriers. In response to another Member's views, the Chairman suggested and Members agreed to delete the words "such as ......Highway" from para. 16(f) of the paper.


15. A Member commented that para. 16(h) should not be included as a condition because the data on air pollutant concentrations would not affect the Council's decision to endorse the EIA report. Instead, it was just additional information that the Subcommittee would like to obtain from the project proponent. The Chairman suggested and Members agreed to delete para.16 (h) and asked the Secretariat to follow up separately with the project proponent on the subject.

16. On conclusion, Members agreed to endorse the EIA report subject to the conditions set out in para. 16 of ACE Paper 28/2002 as amended and agreed by Members in the preceding discussion.

Agenda Item 4 : Any Other Business

Tentative items for discussion at the next meeting

17. The Chairman informed the meeting that Lands Department would present the progress of work of the inter-departmental working group on flytipping control, and Government Supplies Department would brief Members on Government policy and guidelines on green purchasing at the next meeting.

18. The Chairman recalled that the Chief Executive had indicated earlier on that details of the establishment of the Council on Sustainable Development would be available after the implementation of the Accountability System. He requested the Administration to brief Members on the present position of the matter.


19. A Member said that Business Coalition on the Environment and other business organizations had been very concerned about the setting up of the Council on Sustainable Development because there were more and more issues that impinged on the concept of sustainability and affected different Government departments. Another concern was the future of ACE vis--vis the Council on Sustainable Development. Mrs. Rita Lau undertook to relay Members' sentiment for the early establishment of the Council on Sustainable Development to the Administration and let Members know the progress in due course.


20. Another Member said that in the absence of the Council on Sustainable Development, it was ACE's role to look at strategic issues that were related to environmental sustainability. He suggested revisiting subjects such as the Third Comprehensive Transport Study and the Hong Kong 2030 Study which would have implications on a broad range of issues. In addition, it would be useful to have discussion with the Sustainable Development Unit about the progress of its work as well as the effectiveness of the Computer Aided Sustainability Evaluation Tools System in policy making. He was also concerned about the business study of EPD.

21. A Member suggested holding discussions on aesthetic design of noise barriers, and having an update on the work of the coordinating committee on tree planting and greening of urban areas.


22. The Chairman said that he would bring up those issues at the luncheon meeting with the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works on 9 September 2002.

(Post-meeting note : The luncheon meeting was postponed to 4 October 2002.)

Agenda Item 5 : Date of Next Meeting

23. The next meeting was scheduled for Monday, 23 September 2002 at 2:30pm.


ACE Secretariat
August 2002




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