Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 57th Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting

(ACE Paper 10/2001)
For discussion


At its 57th meeting held on 19 March 2001, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Subcommittee received a briefing from the Environmental Protection Department on the environmental outcome and gains through the EIA process and discussed the modus operandi of the Subcommittee.

Membership of the EIA Subcommittee

2. At the Council meeting held on 27 February 2001, the Chairman asked the secretariat to circulate a reply slip for Members to sign up as Members of the EIA Subcommittee. A total of 10 Members have signed up to join the Subcommittee. The membership list is at Annex A.

Modus Operandi of the EIA Subcommittee

3. The Chairman also asked the Subcommittee to discuss the house rules and report back to the Council. At the meeting held on 19 March 2001, the EIA Subcommittee discussed in detail the modus operandi of the Subcommittee and other logistics arrangements for Subcommittee meetings. Details are at Annex B. A schedule of the EIA Subcommittee meetings is at Annex C.


4. Members are requested to endorse the modus operandi and logistics arrangements of the EIA Subcommittee at Annex B.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
March 2001


Annex A


Advisory Council on the Environment
Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee
Membership List (1 January 2001 - 31 December 2001)

Professor Lam Kin-che

Deputy Chairman
Mr Otto Poon Lok-to

Mr Barrie Cook

Professor Anthony Hedley, BBS, JP

Dr Ho Kin-chung

Mr. Peter Y C Lee

Mr Lin Chaan-ming

Dr Ng Cho-nam

Miss Yau Shuk-kau, Alex

Mr Plato Yip


Annex B



This Annex sets out background information about the operation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Subcommittee so as to facilitate smooth proceeding of meetings.


2. The Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) is Government's advisory body on matters related to pollution control and protection of the environment. ACE Members are appointed by the Chief Executive. The terms of reference of ACE are as follows-

  1. keep under review the state of the environment in Hong Kong; and
  2. advise the Government, through the Secretary for the Environment and Food, on appropriate measures which might be taken to combat pollution of all kinds, and to protect and sustain the environment.

Objective of the EIA Subcommittee

3. The EIA Subcommittee is set up under the ACE to study EIA reports of major development projects. It also comments on strategic environmental assessment reports of major planning projects. The terms of reference of the Subcommittee are as follows-

  1. to receive and study EIA reports of major development projects; and
  2. to report on its deliberations and findings and make recommendations to the ACE.

EIA Process

4. At present, the ACE and the EIA Subcommittee are involved in three main stages of the EIA process, namely commenting on the project profiles, selection of EIA reports for submission to ACE and commenting on selected EIA reports. Proponents of public work projects would as far as practicable obtain approval for the EIA reports before gazettal of the projects concerned. However, consultation with District Councils and other relevant parties may proceed in advance of or in parallel with the submission of EIA reports to the Subcommittee.

Project Profile

5. Under section 5 of the EIA Ordinance, ACE and members of the public may comment on the project profile of a designated project within 14 days of its being advertised. The Subcommittee agreed that it was not necessary to present to Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) the collective view of the Subcommittee on project profiles. To ensure that comments on project profiles, if any, are given to DEP within the statutory time limit, individual Members would write to DEP directly and, if necessary, alert other Members and copy his/her comments to the Chairman and Members for information.

Selection of EIA reports

6. Not all project proponents of designated projects are required to make a submission to the ACE on the EIA study. Members of the Subcommittee will be asked to select those projects that they consider would require a presentation by the project proponent. The Subcommittee agreed that only those projects selected by half or more of the Subcommittee Members will be selected and the project proponent concerned will be informed to make a submission to the Subcommittee and send the EIA report to Subcommittee Members. For projects which are not selected, the project proponent will only be required to send the executive summary of the EIA report to the Subcommittee.

EIA Subcommittee Meetings

7. The Subcommittee normally meets monthly, usually on the first Monday of every month to examine EIA report. The meeting schedule is at Annex C of the paper.

Modus Operandi of the EIA Subcommittee

8. The Subcommittee usually considers no more than two EIA reports in each meeting. EPD will prepare for the Subcommittee a paper on each EIA report submitted to the Subcommittee highlighting the salient points about the EIA study and the public comments received up to that moment. The project proponent, where applicable, would provide the Subcommittee with a report on the site selection process of the project, setting out the alternative sites that have been considered and the reasons of the selection of the particular site. The paper, the EIA report and the site report, if any, will normally be issued to Subcommittee Members three Fridays before the scheduled meeting. Members will be asked to indicate one week before the scheduled meeting date whether it is necessary for the project proponents to come to the meeting and discuss the report with them. Project proponents will be informed accordingly before the scheduled meeting.

9. Members of the Subcommittee may raise questions in writing on EIA reports before the scheduled meeting and the project proponent should provide written response to the Secretariat at least one working day before the meeting.

10. Each EIA report presented to the EIA Subcommittee will be given a maximum of one hour, which would include presentation by the project proponent, a Question-and-Answer session and Members' internal discussion. The Subcommittee would allocate as much time to the Question-and-Answer session as possible. The time allocation is generally as follows-

Presentation by project proponent
Questions and Answers
Subcommittee internal discussion
5 minutes
45-50 minutes
5-10 minutes

11. The presentation by project proponent will be brief and covers only the major conclusions and recommendations of the EIAs.

Criteria for Assessing EIA reports

12. EIA reports will be assessed by the Subcommittee according to the requirements of the Technical Memorandum on the EIA Process and the study brief of individual project issued by DEP.

Recommendations to the Full Council

13. The Subcommittee can make one of the following recommendations to the full Council-

  1. endorse the EIA report;
  2. endorse the EIA report with conditions; or
  3. reject the EIA report but inform the proponent the right to go the full Council.

14. If the Subcommittee cannot reach a consensus (i.e. if two or more Members do not agree with the conclusion of the Subcommittee) during the meeting, it may

  1. ask for a second submission to the Subcommittee; or
  2. defer decision to the full Council, highlight issues or reasons for not reaching a consensus for the full Council's deliberation.

15. Other than the scenario in paragraph 14 above or the Subcommittee Chairman considers it appropriate, the recommendations of the Subcommittee will not be discussed in detail in the full Council.

Other Rules on EIA Subcommittee meetings

16. Apart from procedures mentioned in paragraphs above, other rules on EIA Subcommittee meetings are as follows-

  1. the quorum for Subcommittee meetings should be half of the number of the Subcommittee Members, including the Chairman;
  2. Council Members who are not Subcommittee Members may attend Subcommittee meetings and participate in the discussion of the meeting but they shall not vote when votes are taken;
  3. Council Members and EIA Subcommittee Members should declare direct and indirect interest before deliberating on agenda items so that the Chairman could decide whether they should take part in the discussion or in the case of Subcommittee Members to vote;
  4. the confirmed minutes of the Subcommittee (with Members' names deleted) are uploaded to the EFB website for public inspection;
  5. pending the decision of the full Council on the opening of the Council meetings to the public, the Subcommittee will consider the matter in due course;
  6. special meetings may be called to consider urgent items. The Subcommittee will consider each case individually should there be requests for direct submissions to the full Council; and
  7. there will not be a limit on the number of professionals/experts to be invited to each Subcommittee meeting for items requiring their assistance. On those cases and where votes are taken, these professionals/experts shall not vote.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
March 2001


Annex C



9 April (Mon)
7 May (Mon)
4 June (Mon)
9 July (Mon)
6 August (Mon)
3 September (Mon)
8 October (Mon)
5 November (Mon)
3 December (Mon)

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
March 2001





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