It is the objective of the Government departments to properly control activities in connection with depositing of construction and demolition (C&D) materials so that the adverse environmental impacts or any land use/ slope safety/ hygiene/ drainage problems caused by these activities can be minimized.
Statutory Control over Land filling and Fly-tipping Activities
Land filling and fly-tipping activities are regulated by existing planning, environmental, drainage, public health or country park legislation administered by different Government departments. A brief description of the relevant legislation is given in the following paragraphs.
Waste Disposal and Pollution Control
Land filling and fly-tipping activities can be enforced under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354) (WDO) if waste is deposited on Government land, or on private land without the consent of the land owners or lawful occupiers. In the situation where an offence under the WDO has been committed in a place, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) may undertake prosecution action against the offender. If the waste illegally deposited gives rise to an imminent risk of adverse environmental impact, and action needs to be taken immediately to reduce or eliminate that risk, the DEP as the Authority of the WDO may enter the place to remove the waste and recover the cost from the responsible person.
The Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap.132) (PHMSO) has provisions to deal with sanitary nuisance and require removal of litter or waste from any place. If filling or dumping of C&D materials on a particular piece of private land gives rise to a sanitary nuisance (as defined in the Ordinance), action may be taken against the responsible person under this Ordinance. The Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene (DFEH) may issue an abatement notice to the responsible person, requiring the person to abate the nuisance within a specified period of time. Failure to comply with the relevant notice will be subject to prosecution. In addition, if the depositing of C&D materials on private land causes an accumulation of water which allows or causes the breeding of mosquitoes, the DFEH may issue a notice under the PHMSO requiring the responsible person to take necessary action within a specified period to remove such accumulation of water or to prevent mosquito breeding upon the premises. If the responsible person fails to act in accordance with the requirements of the notice, DFEH may take out prosecution; and may clean up the place and recover the costs from the responsible person.
Under the Pubic Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap.132BK) enforced by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the registered owner or hirer of the specified vehicle at the time when a littering offence is committed shall be guilty of an offence. In addition, the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (Cap. 570) (FPO) provides a fixed penalty system for dealing with certain public cleanliness offences which include littering and minor depositing of waste. Government departments including the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), Marine Department (MD), Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), and Housing Department (HD) are empowered to enforce the Ordinance.
Planning control is effected through the preparation of statutory plans and the enforcement power under the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131) (TPO). The statutory plans list out those uses/developments permitted under the plan and those requiring planning permission from the Town Planning Board (TPB). Generally speaking, for by conservation zones such as "Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)", "Conservation Areas (CA)", "Coastal Protection Area (CPA)" and "Green Belt(GB)" or "Agriculture(AGR)" zones within the areas designated as Development Permission Areas(DPAs), planning permission from the TPB is required for land filling activities. Planning Department may take enforcement actions against unauthorized land filling activities falling within the Development Permission Areas (DPAs), in the rural New Territories when the provisions of statutory plans are not complied with. The main urban areas, new towns, rural townships and outlying islands are normally not designated as DPAs.
Sometimes the placing and maintaining of C&D materials on unleased land may be treated as unlawful occupation of unleased land and are actionable under the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 28). If the occupier does not cease the occupation as required by a notice posted under Cap.28, the Department of Lands may remove the C&D materials.
Illegal dumping within country park is enforceable by the AFCD under the Country Park Ordinance.
All building works on private land need to comply with the relevant provisions of the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) (BO). If land filling activities are undertaken for the purpose of or are associated with building construction works, they are regarded as building works requiring prior approval from the Building Authority (BA) under the BO. Should land filling activities result in unstable slopes affecting the safety of adjacent buildings or land, the BA may consider appropriate enforcement action under the BO to render them safe.
Various Government departments have responsibilities on the maintenance of stormwater drainage systems and natural watercourses. If land filling or fly-tipping activities affect existing streams, watercourses or drainage systems, the responsible Government departments should carry out necessary maintenance to alleviate the risk of flooding. They may obtain advice from Drainage Services Department (DSD) as to the potential risk of flooding. Under the Land Drainage Ordinance, (Cap.446) DSD is also empowered to enter the Designated Watercourses in the 5 river basins in the North and Northwest New Territories to carry out de-silting to avoid flooding.
What the Government does to tackle the Land filling and Fly-tipping problems?
User review date:
Monday, 17 July, 2017