Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 41st EIA Subcommittee Meeting


(ACE Paper 11/99)
for advice

The EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Subcommittee considered and endorsed the EIA Reports on "Planning and Engineering Feasibility Study for Development near Choi Wan Road and Jordan Valley" and "Tai Po Development Formation and Servicing of Area 12 (Part) and 39 Pak Shek Kok, Supplementary Environmental Study" at the meeting on 1 March 1999.

Planning and Engineering Feasibility Study for Development near Choi Wan Road and Jordan Valley

(ACE EIA Paper 3/99)

2.The project is a designated project under the EIA Ordinance and covers an area of about 36 hectares. It will provide housing for about 35,000 people with target population intake by mid-2006. The subject site was identified as one of the potential housing sites in the Long Term Housing Strategy Review of 1997 for meeting the estimated demand between 2001 and 2006.

3.Regarding the construction dust and noise impacts, the modelling results predicted that with the implementation of effective dust suppression measures and suitable noise mitigation measures such as quiet plant and movable noise barriers/enclosures, the Air Quality Objectives of Total Suspended Particulates and Respirable Suspended Particulates and the daytime noise criteria stipulated in the EIAO-TM could be met.

4.For Landfill Gas (LFG) impact, a qualitative LFG hazard assessment completed under this EIA concluded that the Jordan Valley Landfill, which is situated 250m away from the subject site, does not pose hazard to the proposed development. Moreover, it is designed that the proposed housing development will not encroach onto the 50m "no development zone" and the 250m "consultation zone". However, CED has undertaken to further investigate and review the issue at the detailed design stage as there are some uncertainties over LFG hazard arising from the presence of two geological fault lines and the need for careful routing of future utilities for the development.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

5.Members discussed the report at the meeting. Queries mainly focussed on the risk of LFG hazards, which the project proponent confirmed to be low. The project proponent stated that as shown by the gas and water monitoring programme, the groundwater which ran along the bounding ridge separating the landfill and the development would form a natural barrier for any LFG migration. The design of the proposed development has also maximized its distance from the landfill. Nevertheless, a review of the LFG hazard assessment would be carried out in the detailed design stage to ascertain the routing of the two fault lines in the study area and to suggest appropriate mitigation measures.

6.The project proponent further confirmed that neither the LFG flare nor the LFG to be vented out from the Landfill would cause air pollution problem. In addition, the safety of construction workers will be ensured through a comprehensive and continuous gas monitoring programme during construction period.

7.The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend ACE to endorse the EIA report on the condition that a review on the LFG hazard assessment including an additional investigation, particularly on the fault lines, and rigorous monitoring programme should be undertaken by the project proponent. The EIA Subcommittee should also be consulted on the proposed mitigation measures if problems were identified during the investigation.

Tai Po Development - Formation and Servicing of Area 12 (Part) and 39 Pak Shek Kok, Supplementary Environmental Study

8.The EIA report for this project was endorsed by the ACE in August 1996 with conditions. They included the requirement of studies on focussed issues such as the visual impact of, and the need for, the lorry park; and nature conservation of Cheung Shue Tan in relation to the proposed lorry parks there. The purpose of this Supplementary Environmental Study is to address the requirement. It is noted that this project is not a Designated Project under the EIA Ordinance.

9.Transport Department and Planning Department have confirmed the need for lorry parks within the subject site. To mitigate the potential impacts of the lorry parks to the villages, trees will be planted along the periphery of the parking areas. Ecologically, the road alignment has been altered to protect the fung shui woodland in the Cheung Shue Tan. The use of gabion wall and grasscrete or rubble at the bottom has also been recommended in the designs of the proposed river channel.

10.The major environmental concern was noise arising from the construction of the access roads to the villages. Despite mitigation measures proposed, some village houses would still be subject to noise ranging from 3 to 6 dB(A) above the criteria of 75 dB(A) for about one month. Additional measures would thus be implemented during the period. Should there be any serious noise problem, the environmental monitoring and audit programme was in place and an event/action plan would be triggered to rectify the situation.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members

11.Members were mainly concerned about the noise impact on the nearby villages, ratio of compensatory replanting and ecological impact on rare species of birds.

12.The project proponent explained that with reference to the proposed new roads to be constructed under the project, no adverse noise impact during operational phase (subject to proposed mitigation measures) has been identified in the previous EIA study. However, during construction phase any noise impact would be closely monitored so as to keep any such impact to a minimum as far as practical, and any affected residents would also be alerted in advance. With regard to the emergency vehicular accesses the use will be limited to emergency vehicles and therefore will not give rise to any significant impact on nearby residents.

13.As regards compensatory replanting, the project proponent stated that a total of 2.7 hectares of vegetation would be replanted compared to the 1.6 hectares of woodland loss due to the project. The ratio of mitigating planting was therefore more than 1:1.

14.For the ecological impact, the project proponent undertook to further look into the possible impact on birds of rare species, if any, in the development area. It was however noted that no such birds had been recorded in the area concerned according to the previous EIA study of the project.

15.The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend ACE to endorse the Supplementary EIA report without condition.

Forum on the EIA Process in Hong Kong

16.Members agreed that a forum to review the operation of EIA Ordinance and the role of ACE EIA Subcommittee would be jointly organized by the Subcommittee and the Hong Kong Institute of Environmental Impact Assessment on 10 April 1999. Members of the ACE would be invited to participate in it.

Advice Sought

17.Members are requested to advise whether the two EIA reports mentioned above should be endorsed.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
March 1999


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