FAQ

  1. What kind of projects will be supported by the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS)?
  2. What are the locations that the CCFS projects can be conducted in Hong Kong?
  3. Why does the CCFS not support projects in Lantau?
  4. Who may apply for funding support under the CCFS?
  5. What is the nature of the MA projects?
  6. What is the nature of the BH projects?
  7. What is the nature of the CR projects?
  8. What is the nature of the RA projects?
  9. Can the target built heritage of the CCFS projects be graded historical building?
  10. Would items listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong be considered under the CCFS?
  11. What are the funding limits for the CCFS projects?
  12. What are the maximum and minimum durations of the CCFS projects? Could a CCFS project be renewed afterwards?
  13. When will the CCFS applications be assessed?
  14. How long does the vetting and approval process take?
  15. What are the vetting procedures for the CCFS applications?
  16. What are the vetting criteria of the MA projects?
  17. What are the vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects?
  18. Can other conservation targets be included in the MA projects?
  19. Is it acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional element for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects? Will the additional elements for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects affect the assessment results of the application?
  20. Can the MA project solely enhance the architectural and/or cultural aspects but not ecological/nature conservation aspect?
  21. Is there any requirement for public access for the revitalised built heritage item?
  22. Is there any essential requirement for the CCFS projects?
  23. Can previously rejected applications be resubmitted?
  24. Can the applicant organisation apply for funding support from the CCFS and at the same time apply for other sources of public funding support for the same project?
  25. Is there any requirement regarding the publicity activities of the CCFS projects?
  26. Is there any reporting requirement during the project period?
  27. Could the generated project income be re-invested into the project?
  28. Are there any previous or existing MA, BH, CR and RA projects which I can make reference to?

  1. What kind of projects will be supported by the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS)?

The CCFS accepts applications for Nature Conservation Management Agreement (MA) projects, Formulation of Proposals on Restoration of Built Heritage (BH), Cultural Rehabilitation/Revitalisation (CR) projects, and Research Activities (RA) on Countryside Conservation and Revitalisation.

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  1. What are the locations that the CCFS projects can be conducted in Hong Kong?

Eligible sites for the MA and BH projects include the priority sites for enhanced conservation, and private land in country park enclaves or country parks, except Lantau, as listed in Appendix 1 of the Guide to Application. The CR and RA projects can be conducted in remote countryside, also except Lantau, where public transportation (includes railways, buses, minibuses, ferries (“kaitos” excluded) and tram) is not accessible within 500m walking distance of the site.

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  1. Why does the CCFS not support projects in Lantau?

Lantau projects fall under the ambit of Lantau Conservation Fund set up under the Sustainable Lantau Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department.

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  1. Who may apply for funding support under the CCFS?

Eligible applicant and co-organising/ assisting/ supporting organisations must be local non-profit-making organisations (NPOs) (e.g. post-secondary education institutions, community bodies and green groups) or groups formed under a local NPO (but excluding organisations registered under the Societies Ordinance (Cap. 151)), which are exempted from tax under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112). Post-secondary education institutions refer to the degree-awarding higher education institutions listed on the Education Bureau’s website and the member institutions which provide manpower training under the Vocational Training Council.

The applicant and co-organising/assisting/supporting organisations should provide a copy of the organisation’s registration document, a copy of the letter issued by the Inland Revenue Department on tax exemption under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), a copy of the articles of association or other equivalent document, and a list of the principal persons-in-charge and their positions, as evidence of proof.

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  1. What is the nature of the MA projects?

The MA projects must enhance the ecological or nature conservation of lands under private ownership through management agreement between NPOs and landowners and/or tenants. Financial incentives can be provided to the landowners and/or tenants for exchanging the management rights over their land or their cooperation.

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  1. What is the nature of the BH projects?

The BH projects aim at formulating proposals on how to restore/revitalise the target built heritage, which should include relevant studies that support the feasibility of the proposals. Proposals for funding for the reinstatement/restoration of built heritage that could bring significant benefits to the community and general public will also be considered.

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  1. What is the nature of the CR projects?

The CR projects aim at enhancing public appreciation and awareness in cultural conservation of the cultural assets, which should be unique or representative to the local community of the site under application.

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  1. What is the nature of the RA projects?

The RA projects aim at harnessing the local and/or overseas experience and knowledge and injecting novel solutions and elements to tackle local challenges on remote countryside conservation and revitalisation.

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  1. Can the target built heritage of the CCFS projects be graded historical building?

No, the revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects of graded historical buildings assessed by the Antiquities Advisory Board are not eligible under the CCFS.

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  1. Would items listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong be considered under the CCFS?

No, items listed in Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory published by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department would not be considered under the CCFS.

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  1. What are the funding limits for the CCFS projects?

For the MA projects, the CCFS will sponsor both the nature conservation aspect, architectural heritage and/or cultural assets of the MA projects. The nature conservation part of all MA projects should observe a funding cap of HK$13 million for each application. If there are additional elements proposed in the MA project that can enhance revitalisation of architectural and/or cultural aspects and supplement the execution of the nature conservation aspect of the project, an extra funding of up to HK$2 million can be applied for those enhancement elements.

To allow projects with more flexibility, the applicant organisation may apply for a variation of funding components with a maximum of HK$12 million for the ecological or nature conservation part, and HK$3 million for its architectural and/or cultural revitalisation efforts under the same MA project, while the total funding limit for each MA application should not exceed HK$15 million. Funds may be granted for full or partial support of projects.

For the BH, CR and RA projects, the funding cap is HK$3 million for each application.

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  1. What are the maximum and minimum durations of CCFS projects? Could a CCFS project be renewed afterwards?

Each MA, BH, CR or RA project under the CCFS should not last for more than three years. The minimum duration for each MA or CR project should be at least 12 months. Renewal application of the MA projects will be considered subject to the merits of the respective renewal proposals.

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  1. When will the CCFS applications be assessed?

Applications are accepted all-year-round and will be assessed in two/three rounds every year, with a cut-off date of application for each round of application assessment. The exact cut-off dates of each round of application will be announced in the CCFS webpage. Applications submitted after the cut-off date will be considered in the next round of application assessment.

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  1. How long does the vetting and approval process take?

The Advisory Committee on Countryside Conservation (ACCC) normally meets two/three times every year.  Under normal circumstances and if no additional information is required, the applicant organisation will be informed of the outcome shortly after the concerned ACCC meeting in which its application is being considered.

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  1. What are the vetting procedures for the CCFS applications?

All eligible CCFS applications received will first be examined by Assessment Panel (AP) comprising members from EPD and relevant government departments according to the vetting criteria. The initial assessments and recommendations of the AP will then be submitted to the Vetting Subcommittee (VSC) of the ACCC for discussion. Applicant organisations may be invited to the VSC meetings to briefly present their project proposals and anticipated results, and answer enquiries of the VSC members, on a need basis. The VSC will discuss the applications and make recommendations to the ACCC for consideration of the applications and the funding amount, as appropriate.

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  1. What are the vetting criteria of the MA projects?

The vetting criteria of the MA projects are specified in Section 2.9 of the Guide to Application, including the enhancement of the site concerned; sustainability of the project; capability of the applicant organisation; practicability of the implementation plan; reasonable and cost-effective budget; achievement of 5% contribution to the total budget; and proposed appropriate educational activities. For renewal applications of the MA projects previously supported by the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) or the CCFS, the track record of the previous project will be taken into consideration.

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  1. What are the vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects?

The vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects are specified in Section 2.11 of the Guide to Application, including a specific criterion for each of the 3 project types based on the project natures, the long term impacts/benefits of the project to remote countryside conservation and village revitalisation; viability of the proposal on its capability to maintain and upkeep the project objectives; technical and project management capability of the applicant organisation; pragmatic budget; and appropriate educational and/or other relevant activities to effectively promote village revitalisation or conservation in the community.

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  1. Can other conservation targets be included in the MA projects?

Yes, for application of MA projects with additional target(s) on built heritage and/or cultural assets conservation, the applicant organisation should provide details and demonstrate how such site specific items could add values to the MA project. The applicant organisation should clearly explain how the tangible and intangible benefits could be brought, and public awareness on nature conservation could be raised by implementing such measures.

It should be noted that funding support by the CCFS is not applicable to the conservation and/or revitalisation of (i) architectural and cultural aspects of graded historical buildings assessed by the Antiquities Advisory Board and (ii) intangible cultural items included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong published by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

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  1. Is it acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional element for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects? Will the additional elements for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects affect the assessment results of the application?

Yes, it is acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional revitalisation element, as the main focus of the MA project is on ecological/nature conservation. On the other hand, the enhancement on revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects, if any, will be considered as non-essential additional elements for the MA project which will only affect the magnitude of the approved funding but not the assessment for the passing mark of the application. The funding limit for each MA project application would be HK$13 million without additional revitalisation element.

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  1. Can the MA project solely enhance the architectural and/or cultural aspects but not ecological/nature conservation aspect?

No, the MA projects must contribute to enhancing the ecological/nature conservation of the sites concerned through management agreements between NPOs and landowners and/or tenants. As such, the MA projects must include enhancement of ecological or nature conservation aspect as the main focus.

For application of the MA projects with additional target(s) on built heritage and/or cultural assets conservation, the applicant organisation should provide details and demonstrate how such site specific items could add values to the MA project. The applicant organisation should clearly explain how the tangible and intangible benefits could be brought, and public awareness on nature conservation could be raised by implementing such measures.

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  1. Is there any requirement for public access for the revitalised built heritage item?

Yes, for applications with built heritage restoration proposals, the applicant organisation should demonstrate the proposed restoration of the built heritage could significantly benefit local community and the public. The applicant organisation should submit a publicity programme and Public Access Arrangement Plan, which include an implementation plan and a management and maintenance plan that would allow a longer term of use at the restored built heritage for public access beyond the project period.

The proposed provision of public access to the restored built heritage and publicity programme should comprise at least 50% of the project period. For example, for a 3-year project, the restoration works of the built heritage should be completed in 18 months or less. The remaining project period should be allowed for public access to the built heritage. If there is any slippage or delay on the proposed restoration works such that the requirement on providing public access to the built heritage for at least 50% of the original project period cannot be fulfilled, the Secretariat may request the recipient organisation to implement measures such as extending the project period to fulfil the above requirement without additional funding support. The application organisation should specify in the proposal the intended operator, mode of operation, management and maintenance responsibility, and the tentative opening hours of the restored built heritage. It is the responsibility of the recipient organisation to ensure the structural safety of the restored premises for public access.

For the MA projects, the provision of public access should extend beyond one more term of the project period subject to mutual agreement between the project organisation and the premises owners.  For the BH, CR and RA projects, the proposed public access period shall normally extend beyond the project period, having regard to the circumstances of individual projects.

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  1. Is there any essential requirement for the CCFS projects?

Yes, the MA projects must involve management agreement between NPOs and landowners and/or tenants for exchange of management rights over their land or their cooperation with financial incentives, and the ecological or nature conservation enhancement activities should be primarily conducted on private land.  As for the BH projects, the applicant organisation should obtain the consent from relevant premises owner(s)/government department(s) and include the consent in the application. It is the applicant organisation’s responsibility to check the land status of the land/premises under application and obtain consent from the concerned private land owner(s)/tenant(s)/relevant government department(s) for implementing the project prior to its application for funding support from the CCFS. Please refer to Section 2.4 of the Guide to Application for the details of the essential requirements.

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  1. Can previously rejected applications be resubmitted?

Yes, for previously rejected applications, the applicant organisations can revise the content of their applications and resubmit the revised applications. These applications, together with other new applications, will be considered on equal footing at the next round of assessment.  In completing the application form for a resubmitted application, the applicant organisation should set out clearly the differences of the resubmitted application vis-à-vis the previous one.

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  1. Can the applicant organisation apply for funding support from the CCFS and at the same time apply for other sources of public funding support for the same project?

Yes, applicant organisations can seek sponsorships from other sources to fund part of the projects financially supported by the CCFS. The applicant organisations should clearly indicate in their submission details regarding sponsorships outside the CCFS. Applicant organisations should note that the other funding sources should not bring the Government into disrepute or give rise to any actual or perceived conflict of interest, there will not be undue publicity for the funding bodies, and the sponsorship is not aimed to generate commercial benefits.

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  1. Is there any requirement regarding the publicity activities of the CCFS projects?

Both the name and logo of the CCFS and the Countryside Conservation Office (CCO) must be acknowledged in all publicity events and activities related to the CCFS projects, the requirements laid down in Logo Application Manual should be followed and hashtags of the CCFS and the CCO should be included in social media posts (e.g. facebook and instagram) related to the CCFS projects.

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26. Is there any reporting requirement during the project period?

For every six months of the project period, the recipient organisations of the CCFS have to provide a half-yearly progress report and a statement of account for each CCFS project. For every year of the project period, they have to additionally provide an annual account audited by Certified Public Accountants (CPA) (practising). When the project is completed, a completion report covering the whole project period and a final audited account. All disbursements and related amount would be released subject to the endorsement of the progress report, statement of account, audited accounts, project progress and projected expenditures in the remaining project period.

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​​​​​​27. Could the generated project income be re-invested into the project?

All revenue/income received/derived from the project (including sales of output, fees generated from activities conducted and interest income generated from cash in hand for the project) during the project period and sponsorship from other sources to fund part of the projects, irrespective of whether it has been declared in the application, must be defrayed against the actual expenditure before calculating the amount to be reimbursed as the final payment; or ploughed back into the project account as set out in the agreement signed between the Government and the recipient organisation, except for the approved amount re-invested into the project.

All revenue/income and sponsorship stipulated above are considered as the Generated Project Income. With the VSC’s agreement, the Generated Project Income could be allowed to re-invest to other value-added conservation related items (such as promotional/educational activities) during the project period.  The new related items will be reported to the ACCC for record. Under no circumstances should the project income be applied to other uses outside the project scope and be spent prior to the VSC’s agreement and after project completion. Any unspent project income shall be returned to the CCFS for offsetting part or whole of the funded amount. Failure to report and return such income to the CCFS will render the organisation ineligible for future applications.

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​​​​​​28. Are there any previous or existing MA, BH, CR and RA projects which I can make reference to?

Yes, the MA projects were funded by the ECF before the CCFS was launched in October 2019. Details of the approved MA projects funded by the ECF could be found in the ECF webpage while MA, BH, CR and RA projects which are funded by the CCFS could be found in the CCFS webpage.

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