Environmental Protection Department Environmental Performance Report 2004 Environmental Performance Report 2004
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Our Contribution to the Environment
  5.2  Planning for a Better Environment
Bullet 5.2a Prevention and Mitigation through Environmental Impact Assessment
Bullet 5.2b Better Air Quality
Bullet 5.2c Quieter Environment
Bullet 5.2d Controlling Water Pollution
Bullet 5.2e Environmentally Sound Waste Management and Facilities

5.2a Prevention and Mitigation through Environmental Impact Assessment

The EPD seeks to influence the development of projects at the earliest stage to protect people and the environment from adverse impacts. It also aims to engage stakeholders and the public so they can share their views and gain access to information about specific projects.

We aim to pre-empt environmental problems associated with projects, plans and policies by assessing their environmental implications and implementing preventive and mitigatory measures where potential problems are identified.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Ordinance

The EIA Ordinance was enacted in 1998 to avoid and mitigate against undesirable impacts from projects before they are built. In 2003, projects with a combined worth of more than HK$91 billion met the EIA Ordinance requirements and were approved. This included several major EIA studies such as those on cross-boundary submarine gas pipelines from Shenzhen to Tai Po, the Tung Chung-Ngong Ping Cable Car and the Joint User Complex & Wholesale Fish Market in Tuen Mun. It also included Environmental Permits issued for the Shenzhen Western Corridor, Deep Bay Link and Gas Turbine at Tsing Yi Power Station. Work also started during the year on such major EIA studies as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Section & North Lantau Highway connection, Recovery Park and KCRC Shatin to Central Link.

Since implementation of the EIA Ordinance, the impact avoidance or control measures in the approved applications have protected 1.9 million people and various aspects of the environment along and in the vicinity of railway lines, road alignments, reclamation sites, and other developments. With respect to ecological compensation, some key measures have been implemented, such as 6.5 ha of grasscrete, 3 ha of marshcrete, 13.5 ha of reinstated fishponds and 12 ha of recreated wetland. In 2003, the EPD managed 154 environmental and monitoring audit programmes with a view to avoiding unacceptable impacts caused by the construction and operation of major projects.

Apart from assessing local projects, the EIA process is also applied to the growing number of cross-boundary projects (see 5.1 Our Contribution to Strategic Decision-Making for details).

Public Involvement

The public has access to EIAs and environmental monitoring and audit data through the EPD website. Under the EIA Ordinance, people may give their views at the project profile stage and during the public exhibition of the EIA report. However, a number of planning and design activities precede these reports. The EPD therefore is promoting continuous public involvement (CPI) to go beyond the current requirements and allow public input at an earlier stage.

The need for CPI became apparent after the EIA for the Lok Ma Chau spurline was rejected in 2000, prompting the project proponent to go back to the drawing board. In September 2003 the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau included CPI in its technical circular, Guidelines and Procedures for Environmental Impact Assessment of Government Projects and Proposals. The EPD is also promoting CPI during training sessions with government officers and the private sector.

Links with Stakeholders

The EPD maintains links with a number of stakeholders, with the aim of improving the EIA process. Training and capacity-building is a major focus of these links. An EIAO Support Section was set up in July 2002 to help enhance understanding of the EIA process among government works departments. This goal was extended to the private sector in 2003. By the end of 2003, 23 workshops on the EIA process had been held for 550 participants, including tailor-made workshops for works departments. The EIA Helpdesk Hotline was expanded to offer assistance to the private sector, as well as government departments. A Training Manual for the EIA Mechanism was also produced during the year for practitioners in both the public and private sectors.

An EIA helpdesk hotline is established to answer enquiries from government staff, consultants, contractors and the public.
An EIA helpdesk hotline is established to answer enquiries from government staff, consultants, contractors and the public.

The EPD also meets regularly with stakeholders to share experiences and discuss how the EIA process can be improved. Four User Liaison Groups were set up in 2000 for government works departments, consultants, contractors, and private developers and public corporations, and eight meetings were held with these groups in 2003.

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