Advisory Council on the Environment



(ACE Paper 50/2001)
For information


The purpose of this paper is to update Members on the progress to date on the development of a Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility (PAFF).


2. The Authority last updated Members in December 2000 (ACE Paper 38/00) on three potential options to the north of Lantau which became feasible following completion of the Ma Wan Channel risk assessment update.

3. Members are advised that significant progress has been made since then.

4. The three potential options, were site locations in Tuen Mun West, Tuen Mun Area 38 and Sham Shui Kok.

5. In early 2001, it was determined that Tuen Mun West would not be pursued further as the use of this area for a PAFF would pose a constraint on future port development.

6. A preliminary assessment of likely environmental issues and challenges at both remaining sites indicated that neither option should present any insurmountable problems within the context of a full EIA. The Authority undertook to compare and carefully consider the environmental benefits and disbenefits of the two options in selecting a preferred option. The comparative environmental assessment is described below.

7. In addition, a preliminary comparison of the two options was made based on length of time required to complete a PAFF at either of the sites. Tuen Mun Area 38 was the preferred option because land is already available for development there.

Comparative Environmental Assessment

8. Pursuant to the above, the Authority engaged an Environmental Consultant to undertake an objective environmental comparison of the remaining two options, Sham Shui Kok and Tuen Mun Area 38.

9. A "matrix comparison" assessment approach was adopted, which allowed for the scaling and weighting of environmental criteria during the construction and operational stages. Environmental criteria were established and a set of weightings was determined based on the relative level of importance attached to each environmental criterion. Criteria weightings were then adjusted to increase arbitrarily the importance of each criterion against the others by way of "sensitivity tests".

10. The results of the comparative assessment were very conclusive, showing that when using the agreed set of environmental criteria weightings, Tuen Mun Area 38 is very convincingly the preferred environmental option during both the construction and operational stages. In addition, even in the sensitivity tests, Tuen Mun Area 38 is still preferred over Sham Shui Kok, in every case. The results of the comparative assessment are summarised briefly in Attachment 1 MSWORD.

11. The main reasons for the preference were that the Tuen Mun Area 38 site will be on existing reclaimed land (whereas a new reclamation would be required at Sham Shui Kok). Further, Tuen Mun Area 38 has deep water access (whereas at Sham Shui Kok the water depths are inadequate, necessitating considerable capital and maintenance dredging). Additional reasons are that during operations, visual impacts are likely to be greater at Sham Shui Kok because of its proximity to planned residential developments, the busy Airport Express Railway and the North Lantau Expressway.

12. Taking into account timing, the immediate availability of land at Tuen Mun Area 38 means that PAFF development there can be completed in time to meet the anticipated growing demand for aviation fuel at HKIA.

13. Significant technical drawbacks were also identified with the Sham Shui Kok option, partly relating to complications with the Sui Ho Wan Sewage outfall alignment, which is underneath the site of the proposed reclamation and the dredged manoeuvring basin.

14. The Authority thus determined, based on the comparative environmental assessment results together with timing, compatibility of land use issues and technical feasibility, that Tuen Mun Area 38 is the best available location for the PAFF.

15. The Authority made a presentation to the Tuen Mun District Council, which included site search for PAFF since 1994 and the results of the comparative environmental assessment shown below concluding that Tuen Mun Area 38 is the best location for PAFF. In addition, the presentation covered visual impacts and hazard to life, both of which show that there would not be any risk posed to public. Despite that, the Council raised strong objections to locating PAFF at Tuen Mun Area 38. The Authority is working on overcoming these.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for PAFF at Tuen Mun Area 38

16. An EIA is now being undertaken on the proposed Tuen Mun Area 38 PAFF and submarine pipeline, based on EIA study brief Number ESB - 072/2001. The study brief has scoped the key issues to be addressed in the EIA study and the EIA report must demonstrate that the criteria in the relevant sections of the Technical Memorandum on the EIA process of the EIA Ordinance are fully complied with.

17. Part of the study is determining if it is feasible to make use of the existing submarine pipeline from the Sha Chau Fuel Receiving Facility to the airport. The EIA will consider both a shorter pipeline option connecting to Sha Chau and a longer alternative, requiring the burial of six additional kilometres of new subsea pipeline, connecting direct to the western side of the airport platform. The alternative pipeline routing options are shown in Attachment 2 MSPOWERPOINT.

18. Although the shorter pipeline option to Sha Chau would require approximately 400 metres of new pipeline within the Marine Park, EIA results to date indicate that the shorter pipeline would result in significantly reduced overall environmental impacts and is therefore the preferable option, as shown in Attachment 3 MSWORD. The connection to Sha Chau is also preferred on operational grounds.

19. Presentations on the initial findings of the EIA study have now been made to the Country and Marine Parks Board and the Marine Parks Committee regarding the pros and cons of each pipeline routing option. The Marine Parks Committee had no objection in principle to the shorter pipeline option connecting into the existing AFRF, pending confirmation of the initial findings in the EIA report. A further presentation to the Country and Marine Parks Board will be undertaken early next year.

20. The Authority is committed to undertaking a thorough and robust EIA in full compliance with all requirements of the EIA Ordinance and the study is now well underway. Apart from conducting the EIA study, a Marine Traffic Impact Assessment as well as submissions required under the Foreshore and Seabed Ordinance and planning permission from the Town Planning Board under Section 16 of the Town Planning Ordinance will also be undertaken.

Way Forward

21. The Authority remains committed to expediting the completion of a PAFF and is now fast-tracking the development process so that Sha Chau can revert to an emergency back up facility as soon as possible.

22. Tuen Mun Area 38 has been demonstrated to be the best available environmental option; its development as a PAFF would allow fuel deliveries to commence by early 2006; it is technically feasible; and the location is compatible with other land uses/planned land uses in the vicinity. The general arrangement of the tank farm and jetty layout is shown on Attachment 4 MSPOWERPOINT.

23. The Authority would like to come back for further consultation when the full results of the EIA are known, probably in April 2002.

Airport Authority
December 2001




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