Advisory Council on the Environment


Planning of Lantau Island
(without Annex)

(ACE Paper 12/2000)
For information


At the meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environmental (ACE) on 21 February 2000, Members requested the Planning Department to compile a comprehensive list of projects and studies related to the Lantau Island which are being undertaken or will be undertaken in the near future. The purpose of this paper is to provide Members with an overview of the major planning studies and infrastructural projects for the Island.


2The broad land use framework for Lantau Island has been set out in the recently completed Draft Recommended Strategy (DRS) of the South West New Territories Development Strategy Review. On 27.9.1999, the Council was briefed on the DRS. Following public consultation, the DRS is being finalized to incorporate comments and feedback received, and the latest changes in the planning circumstances.

3According to the DRS, the planning vision for the SWNT sub-region including Lantau Island is:

'to promote sustainable development in the SWNT by balancing development and conservation needs, with particular emphasis on turning the sub-region into a Tourist, Recreation and Leisure Centre by:

  • strengthening tourist attractions;
  • achieving conservation of the high quality environment; and
  • fulfilling a diversity of recreation and leisure needs.'


4Following the completion of the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, the Lantau Link, the Airport Railway and early phases of Tung Chung development under the Airport Core Programme, future development in Lantau Island would follow the following directions so as to achieve the above planning vision:

  • to accommodate part of the territory's strategic population growth by containing major urban growth in the North Lantau New Town at Tung Chung and Tai Ho where major transport infrastructure are available;
  • to allow modest growth of the existing suburban/rural clusters at Discovery Bay, Mui Wo, Tai O and South Lantau;
  • to develop North-East Lantau as a major tourism area encompassing an international theme park (the Hong Kong Disneyland) as the focus together with other compatible tourism and recreational activities along the northern coast around Yam O and, in the longer term, at the east of Tsing Chau Tsai. Ngong Ping and Tai O in North-West Lantau have scope for enhancing the existing tourism potential. The South Lantau also has potential for sustainable recreational uses. The future development of Mui Wo and South Lantau along this direction would be subject to a planning and engineering study as recommended by the DRS of the South West New Territories Development Strategy Review; and
  • to conserve and enhance the high quality natural landscape and environment of Lantau Island through the Country Park and Marine Reserve/Park designation, planning control and other protection measures.

A plan presenting the overall concept of planning in Lantau is enclosed at the Annex for reference.


5Lantau has an existing population of about 43,000, mostly concentrated in Tung Chung and the suburban/rural clusters in Discovery Bay and Mui Wo. The current and future population distribution is shown in Table 1. The population is envisaged to increase to a total of about 390,000 with the majority (over 82%) to be accommodated in the North Lantau New Town, leaving only very limited growth at the existing suburban/rural clusters. This is in line with the overall planning intention of containing urban development in North Lantau and conserving the rura and natural environment in the rest of Lantau.

Table 1. Future Population Distribution of Lantau

     1998*    Current Designed Capacity
North Lantau New Town 15,000 320,000
NLDFS Area 20 13,700
Mui Wo 10,000 5,000
South Lantau Coast 3,000 11,000
Tai O 3,000 7,000
Discovery Bay 15,000 25,000
Lantau Total 43,420 389,200
Note: * Population figures in 1998 are based on broadbrush estimates.


6.Development in Lantau is constrained by the capacity of the external links. At present, the Lantau Link including the North Lantau Highway serves as the principal road link between the Hong Kong International Airport and the rest of the territory. The proposed Route 10 (North Lantau to Yuen Long Highway) (NLYLH), scheduled for completion by 2007, will provide a second road crossing to Lantau. The preliminary design of the Southern Section of Route 10 (NLYLH) (i.e. from North Lantau to So Kwun Wat) has been completed by Highways Department. The EIA study for this section has been approved under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) in February 2000.

7.Within Lantau, a proposed Chok Ko Wan Link Road (CKWLR) scheduled to be completed in phases in 2005 and 2007 would provide a free flow connection between the North Lantau Highway and Route 10 (NLYLH) and in the long term Route 10 (Hong Kong Link) (HKLL). The preliminary design and EIA study of CKWLR is included in the Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study mentioned in paragraph 12 below.

8.For the railway network, it comprises the Airport Express, Tung Chung Line, the proposed extension of the Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung West to support the North Lantau New Town development and the proposed Penny's Bay Rail Link (a spur line extending from the Tung Chung Line at Yam O to Penny's Bay) to serve the international theme park.

9.Internally, apart from the existing Tung Chung Road, South Lantau Road/Tai O Road and the Discovery Bay Tunnel soon to be completed (mainly for residents' coaches and emergency vehicles), additional road links would be subject to further studies on the environmental and engineering feasibility. These include Road P1 running along the northshore Lantau from Tung Chung to Yam O to support the new town developments, a north-south road link from Tai Ho Wan to Mui Wo and a Road P2 from Yam O to Penny's Bay. In addition, Lantau is also served by ferry links to rest of the territory.

10.At the strategic level, the requirements for these transport infrastructure projects in Lantau have been ascertained in CTS-3 and the SWNT Development Strategy Review to cater for the anticipated traffic demand. The environmental acceptability of these projects has been examined in the context of project specific EIAs with inputs from the traffic forecasts of individual traffic impact assessment to ensure compliance with the EIAO. The cumulative impacts of these transport projects are also addressed in the context of EIAs of relevant development studies in accordance with the EIAO.


North Lantau New Town

11.A Comprehensive Feasibility Study on the Remaining Development in Tung Chung and Tai Ho (CFS) commissioned by the Territory Development Department to investigate the feasibility of intensifying the target population level to 320,000 is nearly completed. The Council has been briefed on the Recommended Outline Development Plan (RODP) in February 2000. As an engineering feasibility study for a major urban development, the CFS is a designated project under Schedule 3 of the EIAO. The EIA study for the CFS is scheduled to be submitted for approval under the EIAO within the next few months.

North-East Lantau

12. In June 1998, the Civil Engineering Department (CED) commissioned a Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study (NLDFS) to investigate the potential for alternative uses in Northshore Lantau in the light of the slow down of port cargo forecast and the potential for tourism/recreation and other uses in the area as identified in the Territorial Development Strategy Review 1998. Following the assessment of alternative development themes, the NLDFS recommends that the planning emphasis of North-East Lantau should be re-oriented from port development to tourism and recreational uses with focus on an international theme park in Penny's Bay and compatible tourism/recreational uses in the vicinity to achieve an overall synergy.

13.NLDFS is an integrated planning and engineering feasibility study which consists of two development packages, the Northshore Lantau development and the preliminary design of the CKWLR. The NLDFS is a designated project under Schedule 3 of the EIAO. The CKWLR, being an expressway, is a designated project under Schedule 2 of the EIAO. In addition, CED also commissioned an EIA study for the theme park at Penny's Bay and its associated infrastructures. The latter EIA covers nine designated projects under Schedule 2 of the EIAO, including the theme park itself, associated reclamations, roads, a rail link, an artificial lake and drainage system. The Council will be briefed separately on the RODP of the Northshore Lantau developments, the NLDFS EIA study and the theme park EIA study.

Tai O

14.A comprehensive assessment of the future development of Tai O with a view to formulating a framework to revitalize this traditional fishing village is currently being undertaken by Planning Department in the context of the Study on Revitalization of Tai O. A recommended revitalization strategy based on the theme of a rejuvenated fishing village has been devised. As part of the study, broad assessment on the environmental aspects, particularly with regard to preservation of the cultural heritage, natural landscape and ecological attributes, has been taken on board in the generation of alternative options. A RODP with more detailed land uses has been prepared for public consultation. More detailed assessment would need to be undertaken for project specific proposals in the detailed implementation stage.

Tung Chung to Ngong Ping Cable Car Link

15.In May 1998, the MTRC was requested by the Government to prepare a proposal for a cable car route between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping. A feasibility study has been completed and concluded that the project is feasible in technical and financial terms and would bring benefits to Hong Kong including tourist visitations and improved access to the attractions. In February 2000, the Government invited expressions of interest in implementing the project. The proponent would be required to carry out an EIA study for the project as the alignment will pass through the Country Park areas.

Ngong Ping

16.In July 1999, a draft Ngong Ping Development Permission Area (DPA) Plan was gazetted to accord planning and enforcement control in this environmentally sensitive plateau pending detailed planning assessment in the formulation of an Outline Zoning Plan. The detailed land uses would be subject to more refinement taking into account the final outcome of the Tung Chung to Ngong Ping cable car proposal, which would open up further tourism development opportunities in Ngong Ping but would also impose pressure on the natural environment, ecological habitats and infrastructure capacity of the area.

Mui Wo and South Lantau

17.Although the DRS has identified Mui Wo as having potential to accommodate modest growth and South Lantau as being suitable for some compatible recreational uses, the optimal type and scale of future development would need to be confirmed by detailed study as stated in the paragraph 4.


18.To conserve the natural environment of Lantau, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is preparing a proposal for extension of the North Lantau Country Park.

19.In addition, the scenic coastal areas, gazetted beaches and the upland areas have been designated as 'Coastal Protection Area' and 'Conservation Area' on the relevant Outline Zoning Plans. Special habitats have been included as Sites of Special Scientific Interests while vegetated uplands and hillsides are zoned 'Green Belt' with presumption against development and incompatible uses.


20.While Lantau will continue to serve its strategic functions in the territorial context, the planning framework has been formulated with due respect to balancing the development needs and environmental considerations. In translating the broad planning intention into detailed land use proposals and projects, it would be ensured that the requirements of the EIAO would be satisfied and consideration would be given to sustaining the high quality environment on Lantau.

Planning Department
March 2000


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