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June 8th, 2011:

Harbourfront areas along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 8):


As the harbourfront areas on both sides of the Victoria Harbour are important public assets, members of the community are very concerned about the planning, development, design and management of such areas. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) regarding the development of a complete and connected promenade running along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island from Sai Wan in Central and Western District directly to the vicinity of Siu Sai Wan in Eastern District, whether the Government has set the timetables for the development of such project as well as the various phases under this project;

(b) of the respective detailed numbers of private properties or land sites and government properties or land sites which may affect the completeness and connectivity of the promenade on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island; the respective solutions the Government has in this regard; and whether it has set the timetable for relocating such government properties to other districts; and

(c) whether the Government will adopt the public-private-partnership approach to design, build and operate the New Central Harbourfront and even the harbourfront development project on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island as a whole; if it will, of the details concerned?



My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) Victoria Harbour is the most precious public asset of Hong Kong and a symbol of the city.In recent years, the Government has strived to promote the enhancement of the harbourfront and to improve its accessibility. Subject to the actual circumstances of the harbourfront sites and through effective allocation of resources, the Government gradually constructs various harbourfront promenades for public enjoyment.

In mapping out and taking forward various harbourfront enhancement measures, the Government has made reference to the former Harbour-front Enhancement Committee (HEC)’s recommendations for the 22 Action Areas along Victoria Harbour and implemented them in a gradual manner having regard to the actual circumstances of each individual project. The Harbourfront Commission (HC) established in 2010 will continue to monitor the progress and propose new enhancement measures. On the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, apart from taking forward the development of the new Central harbourfront, the Government has also actively carried out various enhancement works in the other Action Areas.

Projects completed in the past two years include the Central and Western District Promenade – Sheung Wan Section at the former Sheung Wan Gala Point, the park area of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, the pedestrian link between these two sites, the open space fronting Central Piers No. 9 and 10, the temporary waterfront promenade along the eastern part of the ex-North Point Estate site, and Aldrich Bay Park etc. Meanwhile, the development of the temporary waterfront promenade at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay and the Hong Kong Island East Harbour-front Study (HKIEHS), which aims to formulate a comprehensive plan for the enhancement of the Hong Kong Island East harbourfront areas, are underway.

The existing uses or the major development plans of the harbourfront sites in the Action Areas along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island are set out at Annex.

(b) At present, some of the harbourfront areas along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island are being used by public facilities or fall within privately-owned land (see Annex for details).Such issues have to be resolved on a case-by-case basis. In assessing whether it is necessary to set up government facilities in harbourfront areas, the Government will first consider whether the facilities have to be set up at the harbourfront due to operational needs, and make reference to the Harbour Planning Principles promulgated by the former HEC and adopted by the HC, as well as the guidelines on waterfront planning and urban design set out in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines prepared by the Planning Department. The Government will also consider the planning intention of the site as stipulated in the relevant statutory plan, and the views of the government departments, HC and District Councils etc.

If it is found that there is no need to set up the facilities at the harbourfront, we will explore the possibility of reprovisioning them to a non-harbourfront site (for example, the bus terminus at Shing Sai Road). For government structures which have to be located at the harbourfront because of a practical need, the Government will, where possible, consider setting them back, or reserving the part facing the harbourfront for use as a promenade (for example, the Central and Western District Promenade – Sheung Wan Section). If, for operational and practical reasons, the facilities could not be relocated or set back at the moment, we will explore the feasibility of improving the appearance of their exteriors and undertaking landscape works with a view to enhancing the harbourfront (for example, the proposed beautification works for the Marine Police Regional Headquarters and Marine Police Harbour Division Base at Sai Wan Ho).

As regards sites and buildings held by private owners, we are glad to see that some of the owners and developers have assisted us in undertaking harbourfront enhancement works.

For example, regarding the temporary promenade at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay, with the collaboration of the New Hong Kong Tunnel Company Limited, a waterfront land strip measuring 90 metres long and six metres wide has been released to achieve connectivity of the promenade. This was the result of the joint efforts of various parties and lengthy negotiations. Regarding other privately-owned sites, we will seriously examine all feasible measures to see if favourable conditions could be created for the development of a continuous promenade.

(c) There are a total of eight key sites at the new Central harbourfront.

We plan to develop some of the key sites by way of public-private collaboration (PPC). Through this approach, we aim to capture the creativity and expertise of the private sector for more innovative design options with management that is flexible and allows more sustainable development. As such, a vibrant, green and accessible new Central harbourfront can be created for public enjoyment.

As reported at earlier meetings of the Panel on Development, the Government has planned to develop Sites 1 and 2 of the new Central harbourfront by PPC under a land lease.

The sites and the facilities thereon will be returned to the Government upon the expiry of the proposed lease. As works associated with the construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass will be carried out at part of Sites 1 and 2 up till July 2015, the development of these two sites will take some time to materialise.

Currently, we are also exploring the possibility of developing Sites 4 and 7 (in whole or in part) by PPC. With the support of HC, we have commissioned an independent consultant to conduct a study on the feasibility of developing these two sites by PPC.

We are now conducting a market sounding exercise to invite the private sector to express their views by June 30, 2011 on the potential of developing Sites 4 and 7 by PPC.

We are also actively exploring whether there are other harbourfront sites on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island which can be developed by PPC. Taking into account of the result of the Stage 2 Public Engagement Programme for the HKIEHS, we are planning to develop the proposed temporary waterfront promenade site at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay, the two adjoining sites that have been zoned “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Cultural and/or Commercial, Leisure and Tourism Related Uses”, and the nearby site above the Eastern Harbour Crossing exit by way of PPC. The Planning Department has collected more views in the recently completed Stage 3 Public Engagement Programme for the Study.

We will consider the options recommended in the Study when this project is taken forward in future. The entire Study is anticipated to be completed in 2011.

Source: HKSAR Government

The air quality and air quality objectives of Hong Kong

8 June 2011

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, at the Legislative Council meeting today (June 8):


Regarding the air quality and air quality objectives (AQOs) of Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that according to the 2010 Environmental Performance Report of the Environment Bureau and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the 2010 targets included: to “finalise the proposed new Air Quality Objectives and the long-term air quality management strategy” and “submit the final set of recommendations for consideration to the Legislative Council”, of the reasons why EPD failed to achieve the aforesaid two targets within 2010;

(b) given that some environmental groups consider that the statistics of Air Pollution Index (API) of each month broken down by number of hours which are compiled by EPD cannot clearly indicate the situation of air pollution in Hong Kong, and they instead recommend compiling statistics on the number of days on which API exceeds the prescribed standards in each month for indicative purpose, or on whether the average daily API for that month has exceeded such standards, so as to enable the public to better understand the actual situation of air pollution, whether the Government will consider such recommendations; and based on the data recorded in the past three years and using such recommended methods of compilation, of the statistical outcome for each of the past three years;

(c) given that an environmental group analysed and compared the data collected from 11 general air monitoring stations in Hong Kong and found that the Sham Shui Po District has the worst air quality, whether the Government had conducted similar analyses and comparisons in the past five years; if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether it had introduced any targeted measure to improve air quality in districts with poorer air quality, such as Sham Shui Po and Kwai Chung, etc.; if it had, of the details of the efforts made in various districts each year;

(d) as it has been reported that the diesel particulate filters and diesel oxidation catalysts which were installed in vehicles with government subsidies using public money will increase primary nitrogen dioxide emissions from vehicles, whether it knows, when taking forward the subsidy scheme, that such devices would increase nitrogen dioxide emissions; if so, of the increase in the quantity of nitrogen dioxide and other air pollutants thus caused and the impact on public health, and whether it has made public such information;

(e) given that in the 2010-2011 Policy Address, the Government indicated that it would collaborate with franchised bus companies to conduct a trial on retrofitting Euro II and Euro III buses with catalytic reduction devices, and subject to satisfactory trial results, the Government would fully fund the retrofit of the devices on Euro II and Euro III buses on a full scale, of the amount of fund required, the timetable and other details (e.g. the origin and service life, etc. of the catalytic reduction devices) for retrofitting the devices on a full scale; whether it knows if the catalytic reduction devices will increase the emissions of other air pollutants; if it knows, of the details, and the Government’s counter measures if the emissions of other air pollutants will be increased; and

(f) given that in reply to a question of a Member of this Council on March 16 this year, the Secretary for the Environment indicated that “the Government needs to analyse in detail the different views collected and assess their impacts on the relevant policy issues in order to fully consider and coordinate the implementation of the recommended measures”, and in reply to a question of a Member at the Question and Answer Session of this Council on May 19, 2011, the Chief Executive indicated that announcement on AQOs will be made within this year, of the current progress of the efforts with respect to opinion analysis, impact assessment and consultation with different stakeholders, etc.?



(a) Taking effective air quality improvement measures to reduce the emission of air pollutants is necessary to improve air quality.In updating the AQOs, we need to formulate additional air quality improvement measures for achieving the proposed new AQOs.

The two are closely connected and equally important as part of the air quality management strategy.

The proposed air quality improvement measures encompass a wide range of issues and cut across a number of policy areas. Many of them are controversial and complicated. These include, for instance, updating the fuel mix for the power sector, rationalising bus routes, setting up low emission zones, etc.

The public are also concerned that some air quality improvement measures would increase their financial burden such as causing electricity tariffs, bus fares and operating costs of the business sector to increase. The Government needs to analyse in detail the different views collected and assess their implications for the relevant policies in order to fully consider and coordinate the implementation of the recommended measures. When the work is completed, we will submit the finalised recommendations to the Legislative Council for deliberation.

(b) To provide the public with updated air quality information as soon as possible, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) releases hourly the latest APIs of every air monitoring station.

This is also a common international practice. Therefore, the EPD provides in its “Air Pollution Index Monthly Summary (the Summary)” the hourly statistics at different pollution levels in the month. This approach gives more details than the suggestions – “compiling statistics on the number of days on which API exceeds the prescribed standards in the month, or on whether the average daily API for that month has exceeded such standards”.

In the Summary, the public can also understand the distribution of different levels of pollution recorded for each monitoring station in the month. If we adopt “the number of days on which API exceeds the prescribed standards in the month”, the public will not know the actual exceedance because each “exceedance day” can be caused by one or more hours exceeding the limit. If we use “the number of days in a month that the average daily API has exceeded the standards”, the Summary cannot provide comprehensive data accurately reflecting low and high air pollution.

As such, we consider there is insufficient scientific justification for adopting the two suggestions for compiling the “Air Pollution Index Monthly Summary” statistics.

(c)Over the past five years from 2006 to 2010, the concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and respirable suspended particulate (RSP) recorded at the Sham Shui Po general air quality monitoring station dropped by 10 £gg/m3 and 7 £gg/m3, representing a reduction of 42% and 13% respectively. The annual averages of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) increased slightly by 2 £gg/m3 and 3 £gg/m3 respectively. The situation was similar to that in urban areas from Tsuen Wan to Kowloon Peninsula (including Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung and Kwun Tong).

Please refer to the attached Table for details.

Air pollution in different districts in Hong Kong is caused by common air pollutant emission sources such as power plants, vehicles, etc. Therefore, the Government has been implementing territory-wide measures to cut down local emissions as well as joining hands with the Guangdong Provincial Government to reduce emissions from the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region so as to improve air quality in all districts, including Sham Shui Po and Kwai Chung.

We implemented the following key measures in the past five years to reduce local emissions:

(i) imposed emission caps on power plants since August 2005. We have recently further tightened the emission caps of the power plants by about 34% to 50%, as compared with the 2010 level. The new caps will start from 2015 and their compliance requires maximising the utilisation of existing natural gas-fired generation equipment, and prioritising the use of coal-fired generation units that have been retrofitted with additional emission control equipment;

(ii) introduced Euro IV vehicle emission standards to newly registered vehicles from January 2006 in tandem with the European Union;

(iii) implemented between April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2010 a grant to encourage the early replacement of pre-Euro and Euro I diesel commercial vehicles;

(iv) introduced on April 1, 2007 a first registration tax concession scheme for environment-friendly petrol private cars, and introduced in April 2008 a similar scheme for environment-friendly commercial vehicles;

(v) mandated the use of ultra-low sulphur diesel for industrial and commercial processes from October 2008;

(vi)amended the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation in October 2009 to cover adhesives, sealants, vehicle refinishing paints, marine vessel paints, pleasure craft paints, etc ., so as to limit their VOC contents in phases from January 2010;

(vii) mandated motor vehicle fuels to comply with Euro V standard from July 1, 2010; and

(viii) introduced on July 1, 2010 a 36-month one-off grant to encourage the early replacement of Euro II diesel commercial vehicles with new commercial vehicles.

(d) Roadside air pollution problem is mainly caused by RSP and NO2, both of which have adverse impacts on health.

RSP mainly comes from diesel vehicles and much of the RSP are fine particulates (i.e. PM2.5). To minimise the adverse impacts of these particulates on public health, the Government, making reference to the successful experiences of technologically advanced places such as the European Union and the United States, funded the retrofit of pre-Euro diesel commercial vehicles with diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC).

Roadside NO2 is mainly formed by further photochemical oxidation of nitric oxide (NO) emitted by vehicles in the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and O3.

When implementing the subsidy programme for installing DOC for pre Euro diesel commercial vehicles, we appointed an expert team that comprised local and international experts to advise us on the programme. As for the potential increase in the emission of NO2 by DOC, they recommended to stipulate in the technical specifications that the DOC should not increase vehicle emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) (including NO and NO2) and other air pollutants (including carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC)), thereby reducing the impacts to other roadside pollutants (including NO2). This recommendation was consistent with the common practice adopted by the major vehicle manufacturing economies (including the European Union, the United States and Japan), i.e.

reducing NOx emissions from vehicles as a means to reduce roadside NO2 pollution.

Under the above retrofit programme, test reports submitted by the DOC manufacturer and audited by the aforementioned expert team, DOC could reduce particulate emissions by about 35% without affecting the NOx emissions. It could also reduce the CO and HC emissions by about 40% while reduction of HC emission could correspondingly reduce the oxidation of NO to NO2 and the emission of carcinogenic substances in the HC to the atmosphere. When briefing the Legislative Council about the effectiveness of retrofitting DOC to pre-Euro diesel commercial vehicles, we had provided the above emission data.

(e) Selective catalytic reduction devices (SCRs) are well proven to be effective in reducing the emission of NOx (including NO and NO2).

They have been applied to Euro IV and Euro V diesel commercial vehicles (including buses). Based on our understanding, SCRs will continue to be a key NOx emission reduction device for Euro VI diesel commercial vehicles. As long as their design is in good order, SCRs will not increase the emission of other air pollutants from the vehicles.

We are now making preparation with the franchised bus companies to launch a trial of retrofitting Euro II and III buses with SCRs.We anticipate that the trial could commence in the third quarter of this year.

We will review the initial results after the first six months of the trial to understand as soon as possible the feasibility of retrofitting Euro II and III buses with SCRs on a large-scale. Subject to satisfactory trial results, we will discuss with the franchised bus companies the details of the SCR retrofit programme, including the timetable, type and quantity of buses, and specifications of the SCRs, etc.

Regarding the cost of the retrofit, according to the preliminary information provided by suppliers, the cost of a large-scale retrofit of SCRs to Euro II and Euro III franchised buses is about HK$150,000 per bus.The actual cost of the retrofit will depend on the complexity of the retrofit, exchange rate and the trial results.

(f) The Chief Executive explained at the Question and Answer Session on May 19, 2011 that the new AQOs would be put forward in this year for deliberation by Members. After completing the proposal, we shall consult the Panel on Environmental Affairs of this Council.

Source: HKSAR Government

Regarding the judicial review of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Lam Tai-fai and a reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, in the Legislative Council today (June 8):


Some members of the public have complained to me that they are dissatisfied with the acts and practices of certain political parties and politicians as they have not instituted legal proceedings on their own, but have made use of an illiterate elderly recipient of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance to apply for legal aid to initiate a judicial review, thus abusing judicial proceedings, attacking the construction project of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HKZMB), forcing the project to be halted and seriously undermining the interests of Hong Kong. This has not only procrastinated the progress of the works of the HKZMB Hong Kong section and pushed up the construction costs, but may also affect 78 other projects, thereby seriously hampering the economic development of Hong Kong, pushing up the unemployment rate and leading to immeasurable losses. There are also media reports that the Civic Party has admitted that it assisted a Tung Chung resident to apply for judicial review.

In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Government has received any complaint or view which alleged that the aforesaid case involved “champerty”, “maintenance” or other acts of abusing judicial proceedings; and whether the Government will initiate investigations to ascertain if anyone has manipulated the litigation behind the scene, perverted the course of justice and gained benefits in the process; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(b) given that at the Chief Executive’s Question and Answer Session on May 19 this year, the Hon Alan Leong Kah-kit of the Civic Party claimed that this Council had been cautioning the Government that it was highly likely that the Government’s approach of handling the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance would be regarded as breaching the law, while at the special meeting of the House Committee of this Council held on May 20 this year, the Chief Secretary for Administration said that after going through all the records, the Government had not found any record indicating that requests had been made for the Government to conduct the kind of baseline studies requested by the Court in its judgement, whether the Government will the take the initiative to find out from Mr Leong the specific contents of such views and when such views had been given; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



The “Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance” (the EIA Ordinance) commenced its operation since 1998 with the objective of protecting the environment by assessing impact of designated projects on the environment. Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has all along been acting pursuant to the statutory requirements, guidelines and procedures in considering the assessments, reviewing rigorously EIA reports (reviewing report process also includes consultation with the public and the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE)), assessing effectively the environmental impact of designated projects, and imposing mitigation measures to be incorporated by the project proponents. On January 22, 2010, a citizen of Hong Kong made an application for judicial review regarding the air quality impact of the EIA in respect of Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project.

On April 18, 2011, the Court of First Instance (CFI) handed down the Judgement which rejected six of the seven issues contended by the Applicant. But after considering the purpose of the EIA Ordinance, the CFI ruled that apart from assessing the cumulative environmental impact caused by the designated project, the EIA report should include a “stand alone” analysis of the project and put forward relevant mitigation measures, so as to allow the authority to consider whether the relevant impacts have been kept to the minimum. The Judgement gives rise to significant legal issues relating to the EIA Ordinance and to its implementation.

After seeking legal advice and considering relevant factors thoroughly, the EPD lodged an appeal against the Judgement on May 13, 2011.

In our written reply to the Legislative Council question of the Hon Abraham Shek on May 18, 2011, we pointed out that EPD had all along been following the contents of the “Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process” (TM) issued under the EIAO requiring “baseline study” to be carried out in air quality assessment. It should be noted that the baseline study is carried out on existing air quality. Whereas the CFI Judgement held that apart from ensuring the cumulative environmental impacts caused by designated projects would comply with the relevant standards and criteria, the EIA report should also compare the environmental impacts of the scenarios with and without the project in place.

That is, to assess the air quality in the future assessment year without the project in place in order to assess the direct impact of the project and relevant mitigation measures, in order to let the EPD consider if the environmental impact has been minimised.

Before responding to Dr Hon Lam’s question, I must say that it is not appropriate for us to comment on issues relating to the case as EPD has lodged an appeal against the CFI Judgement. On Dr Hon Lam’s question, I have the following response:

(a) There is freedom of speech in Hong Kong and the general public are very concerned about public policy and public affairs, and they can express their views through different channels.

On the recent judicial review case on Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project, we note that there are different views in the community. They include also the views quoted in Dr Hon Lam’s question, but we have not received any complaints providing specific information that required the Administration to undertake follow-up investigation.

(b) During the public inspection period and consultation with the Advisory Council on the Environment of the two HZMB EIA reports, EPD did not receive any comments on the baseline study in respect of existing air quality. There was also no request for the analysis of air quality in the future assessment year without the project in place.

The Chief Secretary for Administration on May 20 this year at the special meeting of the House Committee of Legislative Council had responded clearly to the relevant questions. All the documents and discussions of the Legislative Council and its Committees are public information. I shall not repeat in quoting the records.

Source: HKSAR Government