Following the announcement in the 2017 Policy Address, the Countryside Conservation Office (CCO) was established under the Environmental Protection Department in end July 2018.
As a priority, the CCO will enhance countryside revitalisation in Lai Chi Wo, as well as ecological conservation in Sha Lo Tung, and will keep under review the implementation of these initiatives and their effectiveness from time to time, with the aim of extending the initiatives progressively to other remote countryside areas. Since the establishment of the CCO, its staff have carried out a number of site inspections in Lai Chi Wo and Sha Lo Tung, and have been liaising and co-ordinating with relevant government departments, non-governmental organisations and stakeholders (including village representatives, the Rural Committees concerned and green groups, etc.) to discuss and examine suitable minor improvement works. The CCO will consult the Advisory Committee on Countryside Conservation (ACCC) about the suitable improvement works proposals, with a view to taking forward the proposals as soon as possible to improve the local infrastructure.
The CCO will use the funding of $1 billion earmarked by the Government for undertaking relevant conservation and revitalisation efforts, as well as minor improvement works. The CCO will support collaboration of local non-profit-making organisations (NPOs) and villagers based on an interactive and co-operative approach under the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS) established with half of the $1 billion mentioned above, i.e. $500 million, under a non-recurrent account. The CCO will spend the remaining $500 million on suitable minor improvement works and rehabilitation of the existing architectural environment in the countryside.