Our chief work is protecting the environment which is key to promote sustainable development. We have to ensure our policies, programmes and operations not only advance our environmental goals, but also take into account economic and social considerations and have positive impacts there.

How do we do this? Stakeholder engagement is absolutely essential. We also believe in the value of an informed public in building support for our programmes and making them succeed.

In this report you will read about our efforts in 2008 to achieve a better environment for Hong Kong and to engage key stakeholders and the public in the process.

Among the many highlights during the year, there is particular emphasis on energy. The use of energy is both an economic and environmental issue. We seek to provide reliable, safe and efficient supplies at reasonable prices and at the same time to minimise environmental impacts in the production and use of energy.

We made progress on these aims during the year. The conclusion of the post-2008 Scheme of Control Agreements with the two power companies enables more stringent control of their emissions and a reduction in basic tariffs, while the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Co-operation, which we signed with the Mainland’s National Energy Administration, guarantees the continuous supply of clean energy to Hong Kong for another twenty years.

Energy also received high level attention from the Chief Executive who pledged in his 2008-09 Policy Address to enhance energy efficiency and promote a low-carbon economy in line with global efforts to combat climate change. We introduced a new ordinance on energy efficiency labelling and consulted the public on mandatory implementation of the Building Energy Codes to promote energy efficiency.

Another prominent environmental issue is waste management, which is especially urgent because we are running out of landfill space. We now have a new legal framework for mandatory product responsibility schemes, which promote recycling of certain products and help to reduce their environmental impacts. The first product covered by a mandatory scheme is plastic shopping bags.

Better air quality is one of the top environmental issues in the community. We have conducted a review on the Air Quality Objectives, and are launching a public consultation on proposed new objectives and emission control measures.

In terms of the internal environmental performance of the Environment Bureau and the Environmental Protection Department, we continued to lead by example in reducing our electricity consumption, which fell by 1.8 per cent in 2008. We also reduced paper consumption by 4.3 per cent.

These highlights and achievements in all of our programme areas are described in this report. In the year ahead, we shall continue to inculcate green values in the community and build stronger partnership with all stakeholders for promoting better environment and sustainable development in Hong Kong.

We look forward to hearing what you think about our programmes and performance. A feedback form can be found at the end of this report, please do share your views with us.

Anissa WONG
Permanent Secretary for the Environment /
Director of Environmental Protection