Report of the 48th Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting
(ACE Paper 44/99)
At its meeting on 1 November 1999, the Subcommittee considered the following EIA reports:
|(a)||Essential Public Infrastructure Works - Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Tuen Mun Centre and the Eastern Access Road
|(b)||Route 16 Investigation Assignment - Alternative Alignment Study|
2.The Subcommittee also discussed the Strategic Environmental Assessment Technical Report (SEATR) of the Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3).
3.The EIA report mentioned in paragraph 1 (b) was endorsed without conditions through circulation to Members on 2 November 1999 (ACE Paper 43/99). Members are now requested to advise whether the EIA report in paragraph 1 (a) should be endorsed.
VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE
Essential Public Infrastructure Works - Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Tuen Mun Centre and the Eastern Access Road
(ACE EIA Paper 25/99)
4.The EIA Report for the Essential Public Infrastructure Works (EPIW) Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun Centre was endorsed by the Council at its meeting held on 19 July 1999. The present EIA focused on the new Eastern Access Road (EAR) at Kam Tin which would form part of the EPIW for the West Rail.
5.The EAR was designed as a carriageway which would connect the West Rail Kam Tin Station and the associated planned Passenger Transport Interchange with the Kam Sheung Road and the Kam Tin Bypass. It was considered that the existing rural roads would not be able to accommodate the road traffic generated by the new station.
6.The EIA Study concluded that with mitigation measures, environmental impacts during the construction phase would be within the established guidelines and standards. As regards the noise impact during operational phase, reflective and absorptive roadside barriers would be used to protect existing noise sensitive receivers (NSRs) affected by the EAR. It is noted that three adjacent NSRs would still have to be compensated by indirect measures in the form of window insulation and air-conditioning.
Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee's Members
7.Members discussed the report at the meeting. Queries mainly focussed on the cumulative impact, noise impact, air quality and ecological impact of the project.
8.On the possibility of cumulative impact from the previously endorsed project regarding Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun Centre, the project proponent explained that there would not be any cumulative impact since the project involved four geographically independent sites.
9.On the noise impact of the project, the proponent indicated that both direct and indirect mitigation measures would be adopted to meet the requirements in the Technical Memorandum of EIA Ordinance and implementation of these measures would be enforced under the environmental permit issued by EPD.
10.As regards air quality, EPD confirmed that the daily pollutant concentration limits would not be exceeded if the hourly concentration was within the limit.
11.For the ecological impact of the project, the proponent confirmed that there would be a compensatory tree-planting programme for the woodland and agricultural land loss with an aim to restore the landscape and enhance the visual impact.
12.The Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report without conditions.
Strategic Environmental Assessment Technical Report of the Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3)
13.Members were concerned that the predicted air quality and noise impact of the recommended transport strategy could not be brought to an environmentally acceptable level by 2016. They noted that one of the guiding principles of the recommended transport strategy was to alleviate the environmental impact to an acceptable level. In response, the Administration advised that CTS-3 had identified a number of additional measures which were undergoing or would undergo feasibility and cost-effectiveness studies and that adopting the appropriate measures into the transport strategy would bring the environment to a more desirable condition. Members asked the Administration to take into account the findings of the strategic environmental assessment in their future review of the CTS-3 recommendations. The Administration assured Members that they were aware of the increasing environmental concern of the public and that they would balance the needs for transportation and environmental protection in the formulation of future transport policy.
14.The Administration affirmed that environment would be taken as one of the major deciding factors in transport policy development to ensure a sustainable development in Hong Kong. An appropriate monitoring and auditing mechanism would be set up to provide on-going environmental assessment of the development of future transport strategies.
15.Members indicated that they looked forward to the next stage of transport strategy development and hoped that the Administration would pay more efforts in managing the traffic demand. The Administration would update Members of the progress in the course of developing transport strategy.
EIA Subcommittee Secretariat