Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 59th Meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 4 June 2001 at 4:00pm

Mr. Otto POON (Deputy Chairman)
Professor Anthony Hedley, BBS, JP
Dr. HO Kin-chung
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Miss Alex YAU
Miss Petula POON (Secretary)

Absent with Apology:
Professor LAM Kin-che (Chairman)
Mr. Barrie COOK
Mr. Peter Y C LEE, SBSt.J
Mr. Plato YIP

In Attendance:
Mr. Simon HUI Acting Assistant Director (Environmental Assessment & Noise), Environmental Protection Department (EPD) (Atg. AD(EA)/EPD)
Mr. C C LAY Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) (AD(Cons)/AFCD)
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (C), Environment and Food Bureau

In Attendance for Agenda Item 3:
Mr. James S O CHAN Chief Engineer (Kowloon East), Territory Development Department (TDD) (CE(KE)/TDD)
Mr. MAK Chi-biu Senior Engineer (Kowloon East)1, TDD (SE(KE)1/TDD)
Mr. Enoch LAM Chief Assistant Secretary (Project Management), Housing Bureau (CAS(PM)/HB)
Mr. Y W YEUNG Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. (ARUP) (ARUP1)
Mr. Peter C T LEE ARUP (ARUP3)
Mr. Ken Y K WONG Acting Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment), EPD (Atg. PEPO(UA)/EPD)
Mr. Richard WONG Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment), EPD (SEPO(UA)/EPD)


Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of 58th Meeting held on 9 April 2001

The minutes were confirmed subject to a Member's amendments.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Para. 2 : Copy of Guidance Notes

2. Members had no comments on the draft Guidance Note. The Deputy Chairman suggested and Members agreed that the Guidance Note be issued and reviewed by EPD in one or two years' time.

Agenda Item 3 : Comprehensive Feasibility Study for the Revised Scheme of South East Kowloon Development
(ACE-EIA Paper 3/2001)

3. The Deputy Chairman welcomed the presentation team led by CE(KE)/TDD. He emphasized that since the proponent would submit the EIA report of the Study at a later stage, the views expressed or statements made by the proponent and the comments of the Subcommittee Members at the meeting should not pre-empt the statutory process of the EIA report to be submitted under the EIA Ordinance. This would also apply to individual designated projects under the Study. CE(KE)/TDD then introduced the background of the Study followed by a briefing of the findings of the Study by ARUP2.

4. A Member welcomed the environmentally friendly transport (EFT) design such as the use of tunnels and depressed roads. She asked whether more tunnels or depressed roads could be used and why the requirement for road reserve amounted to 23.6% of the total land use of the area. In response, CE(KE)/TDD said that most major roads had been depressed or routed through tunnels. For traffic and safety reasons, it was not possible to put major interchanges underground. There were also other constraints like underground structures. He assured members that the estimated percentage of road reserve was the minimum requirement.

5. A Member enquired about the road reserve percentage for Tseung Kwan O Town as a point of reference. CE(KE)/TDD said that he did not recall the figure for Tseung Kwan O Town but for west Kowloon, it was about 30%. ARUP1 supplemented that new towns usually required approximately 30% of total land use for road reserve. For SEKD, part of Prince Edward Road, Kwun Tong Road and Kwun Tong Bypass, which fell within the relevant OZPs, and strategic through routes like Trunk Road T1, T2 and Central Kowloon Route had been included in the above percentage for road reserve. If only those roads serving SEKD were counted, the percentage for road reserve would be lower.

6. A Member found it encouraging that trolley bus and light rail were proposed for SEKD area. He asked whether the proponent had considered the "park & ride" concept and restricting the use of private vehicles in the area. ARUP1 said that smoke-free shuttle system was proposed to link up the area and nearby railway stations and only a low ratio of car park provision would be adopted near the railway stations. He hoped that through these measures, the use of private vehicles would be discouraged.

7. A Member was concerned that if private vehicles were allowed in the area people would expect adequate provision of parking facilities. If, however, the intention was to discourage the use of private vehicles, he suggested imposing restriction on access by vehicles so as to maximize the use of EFT. In response, CE(KE)/TDD said that the Study indicated that about 35% of residents would use non-railway transport including private vehicles. The design of the road system would discourage through traffic enrouting SEKD.

8. A Member concurred with that Member and said that one should not on one hand permit access by private vehicles but on the other hand do not provide adequate parking facilities. If SEKD area was to be promoted as a "Garden City" in which private vehicle was not a permitted form of transport, the proponent should clearly convey the message by imposing necessary restrictions. He also asked whether there were parking facilities provided for visitors. Secondly, he asked whether the three strategic roads would give access to the SEKD area.

9. In reply to that Member, CE(KE)/TDD said the use of private vehicles and EFT had been extensively discussed during various stages of consultation. As a balanced approach, car parks were provided near the three public transport interchanges mainly for visitors' convenience to change to other modes of transport into the area. As regards the three strategic roads, the original design involved a five-level junction but was later revised to only three-level to minimize traffic noise and air quality problems. The design would discourage traffic to enter the SEKD area as a bypass.

10. A Member welcomed the provision of automatic refuse collection system and asked whether waste separation facilities would also be provided to facilitate waste recycling process. ARUP1 said that the design of the collection system would be able to provide separate inlets for disposal of different types of waste but the ultimate success of the separation system would depend on the co-operation of the residents.

11. In reply to a Member's question, another Member said that the study on the water quality of typhoon shelter was almost completed and the figures so far indicated that they could comply with the water quality objectives. He said that the assessment result would be included in the final EIA report.

12. In response to a Member's question, ARUP1 said that 16 million cubic meter of fill materials would be required for the reclamation of SEKD.

13. In response to a Member's question, ARUP2 said that three options would be proposed for sediment treatment. The first would involve no dredging with in-situ treatment, the second would involve dredging with ex-situ treatment, and the third minimum dredging. For ex-situ treatment, suction dredging using pipeline would be adopted, followed by treatment, washing and dewatering of sediment. For special cases, further treatment by bio-pile might be considered if necessary.

14. The Deputy Chairman thanked the presentation team and looked forward to the formal submission of the EIA report. CE(KE)/TDD said that their next step was to consult the Town Planning Board and District Councils. They intended to gazette the revised draft Kai Tak Outline Zoning Plan in July and seek funding from the Finance Committee in October 2001 for detailed design. They would submit the EIA report to ACE in September.

Agenda Item 4 : Any Other Business

Selection of EIA reports

15. In relation to the selection of EIA projects for consideration by the Subcommittee, a Member said that there was a lack of formalism or guidelines for Members to follow, which resulted in a lot of surmise in the work. He would like to discuss with Members on how the process should be improved.

16. On the invitation by the Deputy Chairman, the Secretary briefed Members on the current selection process.

17. A Member said that he selected the projects mainly based on experience. He tended to pick those projects which might have impact on ecology because there was no hard and fast rule to evaluate ecological impacts. However, he admitted that in the past the Subcommittee had missed some important projects due to the ambiguity of the project titles. He said that the provision of the scale and the location of the projects would facilitate Members in the selection process.

18. Atg. AD(EA)/EPD said that Members could find the necessary information in the project profiles which would be made available to Members upon request. The Deputy Chairman said that it could save Members' time to look up the profile of each project if EPD could attach a summary of the project profile instead of the advertisement of the profile exhibition. Atg. AD(EA)/EPD cautioned that EPD could not summarize the profiles on the proponents' behalf. A Member suggested EPD to require the proponents to provide such summary to facilitate Members' selection. The Secretary suggested that the Secretariat liaise with EPD to work out a better approach and report to the Subcommittee in due course.

(Post meeting notes : EPD has agreed that in future that the department would provide the name of projects together with the location plan and an extract of the project profile (i.e. information on the purpose, nature as well as the location and scale of the project).

19. A Member asked whether Members could select a project at a later stage in case they missed the opportunity during the normal process. Atg. AD(EA)/EPD said that despite the current understanding between ACE and EPD there was, strictly speaking, no statutory time limit for the Council to select projects for consideration before the EIA was formally submitted. Therefore ACE could always inform EPD at a later stage and EPD would discuss that with the proponent. Another Member said that if a Member missed a certain project, he could raise it at the EIA Subcommittee meeting.

Monthly Update on Applications under the EIA Ordinance

20. A Member noted that there was a revised Monthly Update circulated to Members and she wondered what had been revised. Separately, she was confused noting that an environmental permit was being applied for the "Construction of an International Theme Park in Penny's Bay of North Lantau and its Essential Associated Infrastructure". She thought that the reclamation for that project had already started. In reply to that Member's first question, the Secretary undertook to clarify with EPD and let Members know what had been revised.

[Post-meeting note : The Secretariat notified Members of the revisions via e-mail on 5 June 2001.]

21. In response to that Member's second question, Atg. AD(EA)/EPD said that as far as he knew the application was for a permit covering several individual designated projects relating to infrastructure works on the reclamation, some of them already had the permits granted. The permit for the reclamation project had been granted after consultation with ACE.

Tentative Items for Discussion at the Next Meeting

22. The Deputy Chairman informed Members that three items were scheduled for discussion at the next meeting. They were "Penny's Bay Development - EIA Study for Decommissioning of Cheoy Lee Shipyard", "Rural Drainage Rehabilitation Scheme Stage 1 - Phase 2 - rehabilitation works at Ping Yuen River", and "Strategic Assessment and Site Selection Study for Contaminated Mud Disposal".

Presentation under Agenda Item 3

23. A Member felt that the project proponent of the paper under Agenda Item 3 only provided fragmented answers to Members' questions. After the presentation, he still felt uncertain about the fundamental features, in particular the transport infrastructure of SEKD. He was interested to know how other Members felt.

24. The Deputy Chairman said that speaking from the perspective of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, he would consider the project as one of those Government projects which had conducted extremely extensive consultation. Through consultation and discussion with major stakeholders and the public, the proponent had eventually incorporated quite a number of suggestions and proposals in the recommendations.

25. A Member said that the proponent's responses were lacking in detail and he would like the proponent to show that they had seriously considered allocating private vehicle-free areas in SEKD. The Deputy Chairman said that the concept of car-free zone had been put forward by the professional bodies to the proponent and discussed at great length. If the proponent had not accepted the recommendation, it might be too late to make any drastic alterations to the plan at this stage.

Sand Dredging at West Po Toi Islands

26. A Member said that she had sent a letter to the Administration inquiring about the trials of sand dredging at West Po Toi Islands and she understood that CED would liaise with the Secretariat to arrange a briefing for the Subcommittee on the findings of the water quality impact assessment of the dredging. The Secretary said that CED had informed the Secretariat that if the Subcommittee so wished, the department would be happy to conduct a briefing at a suitable date to be fixed in due course.

Agenda Item 5 : Date of Next Meeting

27. The next meeting was scheduled for 9 July 2001.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
June 2001




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