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September 1st, 2011:


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Public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area launches

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao governments today (September 1) jointly launched a three-month public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area (The Plan).

“The overall objective of the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area is to transform the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region into an exemplar cluster of green cities for quality living through the compilation of a long-term co-operation blueprint for the three sides,” the Under Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, said.

“This is the first regional plan jointly compiled by the three sides. The consultation document puts forward the objectives and vision to transform the Greater PRD region into a low-carbon, high-technology and low-pollution city cluster of quality living.

It also suggests initial co-operation directions and proposals in the five areas of environment and ecology, low-carbon development, culture and social living, spatial planning and transportation systems. We would like to receive views and comments from the public on the various proposals and foster community consensus through this consultation with a view to supporting the future implementation of the Plan,” she explained.

Public views collected during the consultation period will be taken into account at the next phase of study with a view to finalising the compilation of the Plan.

Key initial co-operation directions proposed in the consultation document include:

(i) Enhancing environmental quality and ecology: Included is strengthening and improving the ecosystems in the Greater PRD region, planning and co-ordinating regional ecological protection for Robin’s Nest in Hong Kong and Shenzhen Wutong Shan National Forest Park, devising a joint management plan for the protection and conservation of the Chinese white dolphin habitat at Lingding Bay, and strengthening exchange on wetland management and scientific research. Also covered is enhancing water quality management and pollution control, and strengthening co-operation in improving the quality of adjoining waters.

Being studied, too, is strengthening the regional co-operation on air pollutant emissions reduction and control with Guangdong and Hong Kong to complete the joint study on the arrangements for reducing air pollutant emissions in Hong Kong and the PRD region for 2011-20 based on the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan (2002-10); enhancing the regional air quality monitoring network and information sharing mechanisms; and conducting a study on controlling air pollution from vessels in the Greater PRD waters, such as exploring the feasibility of using cleaner energy by vessels berthing at the Greater PRD ports, etc.

(ii) Promoting low-carbon development and accelerating the pace of economic transformation in the Greater PRD region: promoting cleaner production, and progressively setting up and improving a cleaner production service platform for the three places; promoting the development of environmental industries; fostering cross-boundary co-operation in the recycling of reusable materials subject to compliance with national legislation and environmental standards; supporting development of new energy and renewable energy, and promoting the wider use of new energy and renewable energy products; and taking forward co-operation in clean energy supply and development of related infrastructure, including studying the overall demand and development potential of clean energy in the region.

(iii) Taking forward closer co-operation in cross-boundary cultural exchanges, education, social welfare and food safety issues: Establishing a pluralistic regional cultural system, strengthening the transport support services for cross-border students, facilitating the social service providers of Hong Kong and Macao to operate elderly homes and welfare institutions for persons with disabilities in the PRD, and enhancing the exchange and emergency response mechanism on food safety.

(iv) Promoting co-ordinated cross-boundary spatial development and improving the spatial structure in the PRD: Continuing the planning and development of the priority cross-boundary co-operation areas, such as the Lok Ma Chau Loop Area, Qianhai in Shenzhen, Nansha New District in Guangzhou, etc; and conducting a joint study on co-ordinated spatial development in corridors along cross-boundary express railways.

(v) Facilitating development of green transportation and convenient boundary crossing: Enhancing transportation systems of the region, promoting railway as the backbone of transportation systems; facilitating the use of non-motorised transport and promoting energy efficiency and emissions reduction in transportation systems; and exploring the feasibility of extending the operating hours of boundary control points progressively.

The proposal for “building a quality living area” was set out in the “Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the PRD Region (2008-20)”. In October 2009, Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao jointly commenced the study for the compilation of the Plan, focusing on the long-term regional co-operation directions of the Greater PRD region.

“The notion of quality living underscores the sustainable development concept of striking a balance between economic and social development and the environment. It puts quality living for citizens at the heart of regional development.

This is the starting point in drawing up the Plan. All the cities in the Greater PRD region are closely connected and inter-related. Tackling the common problems encountered in regional development calls for regional co-operation beyond administrative boundaries.

Recognising that Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao are governed under different administrative and legal systems, the three governments will respect each other’s differences in taking forward the co-operation proposals to be recommended under the Plan, and co-ordinate their implementation by taking into account the prevailing circumstances,” Dr Poon said.

The consultation document and its summary are available at the offices of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Environmental Resource Centres, and the Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department. They can also be downloaded from the dedicated website at The public consultation exercise will run for three months until November 30, 2011.

A public forum will also be held on September 29, 2011, and the registration form can be downloaded from the dedicated website. Views and comments may be sent to the EPD by post (address: 33/F, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong), by fax (2838 2155) or via email (

Source: HKSAR Government

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Letter to Dr. Christopher Fung

Download PDF : ChrisFung

The Challenges of Modelling Air Quality in Hong Kong

Only a numerical air pollution modelling system can link together all the processes
involved in determining air quality coherently to provide a science-based picture. The PATH
(Pollutants in the Atmosphere and their Transport over Hongkong) modelling system was set
up in the year 2000 and has since provided useful information on the various aspects of air
pollution in and around Hong Kong. The system has also been enhanced to make short-term
forecast of air quality. Further upgrade of the system to meet new challenges is continuing.

AbstractOnly a numerical air pollution modelling system can link together all the processesinvolved in determining air quality coherently to provide a science-based picture. The PATH(Pollutants in the Atmosphere and their Transport over Hongkong) modelling system was setup in the year 2000 and has since provided useful information on the various aspects of airpollution in and around Hong Kong. The system has also been enhanced to make short-termforecast of air quality. Further upgrade of the system to meet new challenges is continuing.


HCAL 9/2010


  1. This case is concerned with whether the Director of Environmental Protection (“the Director”) has properly discharged her statutory duties and functions under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, Cap. 499 (“the EIAO”), in respect of part of the works forming the proposed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (“the HKZM Bridge”) project.
  2. Specifically, the case raises the question of whether the air quality impact of two of the projects connected with the HKZM Bridge was properly assessed in the environmental impact assessment reports for those projects.  The applicant, who is a resident of Fu Tung Estate in Tung Chung where one of the air sensitive receivers for the air quality impact assessment in respect of the two projects in question is located, contends that it was not.


Bridge promoters accused of taking wrong approach

Hong Kong Standard – 1 Sept. 2011

Environmental permits for key elements of the proposed Hong Kong-Zhuhai- Macau bridge would not have been granted, it is argued, if its government promoters had used the usual and traditional approach to forecast air quality.

This is a main finding of think-tank Civic Exchange concerning the controversial judicial review of the project.

The Court of Appeal has yet to set a date for delivering a verdict on a government appeal against a lower court ruling that quashed the environmental permits for two elements of the project.

Environmental lawyer David Renton, who authored a paper on the issue for the group, said the usual baseline is a five-year average of the most recent monitored air quality data available at the time of an assessment.

But the proponent of the bridge project, the Highways Department, used a computer model called PATH – for Pollutants in the Atmosphere and their Transport over Hong Kong – to predict background air quality instead of using monitored data to set the baseline.

Renton said impact-assessment reports on the project show the five-year average of the most recent data for the pollutants nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulate around Tung Chung already near air quality objectives – AQOs, or limits Hong Kong has set.

Bridge-linked projects are boundary- crossing facilities on reclaimed land off Chek Lap Kok and a link road.

Had these figures been used as the baseline for the assessment, Renton said, the bridge’s cumulative impact would have caused air quality to exceed the objectives after the extra pollution produced by the projects and other sources were taken into account.

The director of environmental protection “could not have granted the projects an environmental permit in the face of an EIA report showing air quality would exceed the AQOs,” Renton said.

Civic Exchange head of environmental strategy Mike Kilburn added: “We don’t know what is in the [PATH] model and what data is used to run [it].”

The model was developed by the Environmental Protection Department as a tool for predicting the impact of various emissions reduction strategies being pursued by Hong Kong and Guangdong authorities on air quality in the SAR.

The Court of First Instance in April ruled for Tung Chung resident Chu Yee- wah, 65, who filed for a judicial review saying assessments were not done properly and the director’s decisions to grant permits should be quashed.

Greens aim to land further runway talks

Samson Lee

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Green groups strongly opposed to a third runway have urged the Airport Authority to hold a second round of consultations.

Previously, the activists had been insisting the authority suspend a three- month consultation exercise, which is scheduled to end tomorrow.

The authority met yesterday with a coalition of environmental groups in Central.

After a 3 hour closed-door meeting in the morning, the coalition told reporters they were sticking by their position not to support the third runway option until their demand for social impact assessments is met.

“We hope there is a second round of consultations,” said Chan May-ling, chief executive for Friends of the Earth Hong Kong, and spokeswoman for the green groups.

Chan said groups were disappointed that authority chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung did not show up as promised, sending only his deputy – executive director of airport operations Howard Eng Kiu-chor – to represent him.

“I was disappointed that Hui did not come to meet us. I expected to see him,” Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi- pong said.

During the meeting, the coalition of 10 green groups, including the WWF, Greenpeace, and Conservation Association, demanded the authority conduct an impact assessment on social costs, including public health, before they pursue further discussions.

“Currently, it is hard for the public and us to decide based on the consultation paper because there is no information about the social costs we will face through the third runway proposal,” Greeners Action executive director Angus Ho Hon-wai said.

The green groups warned they may escalate their opposition if the authority does not look favorably on their demands within a month.

An Airport Authority spokeswoman said this is the third round-table briefing with the green groups, all chaired by Eng.

“Hui attended the previous briefings as a bystander,” she said, adding he was engaged in other matters yesterday

HK government’s pet projects based on flawed assumptions

South China Morning Post – 1 Sept. 2011

Tung Chung resident’s judicial review exposes major shortcomings in the administration’s assessment and approval of infrastructure developments.

The recent judicial review of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project has highlighted a policy snarl-up, which surpasses even this government’s uncanny talent for getting into a tangle.

It calls into question not only the assumptions underpinning the bridge project, but also the economic arguments advanced by the government to justify its other pet infrastructure projects, including the proposed third runway for Hong Kong International Airport.

Things began to go wrong for the government when Tung Chung resident Chu Yee-wah applied for a judicial review of the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau bridge, saying the government’s environmental impact assessment of the project failed to meet its own standards for gauging the likely effect on local pollution levels.

The judge agreed and overturned the project approvals granted by the Environmental Protection Department. The government has appealed and a decision is expected towards the end of this month.

But even if the appeal court upholds the original approvals, Chu’s challenge exposed major shortcomings in the government’s procedures to assess and approve infrastructure projects.

Usually an environmental impact assessment provides a baseline scenario based on recorded data to show what air quality would be like if the project did not go ahead. Then it gives a projection of local air quality with the project in place (and any other projects that are planned) so the public can get an idea of the likely effects.

But the assessment for the bridge project neglected to include this background scenario. It simply asserted that air quality in 2031 with the bridge in place will meet the government’s objectives.

There are several big problems with this approach. As the judge in the initial review hearing pointed out, it treats the environment as a bucket into which pollutants can be poured until it is full.

The assessment says nothing about the amount of pollution the bridge and its traffic will actually add to the local atmosphere, which makes it impossible to gauge the environmental cost of the project. That defeats the purpose of the study in the first place.

There are other problems, too. For one thing, there are grave doubts about the use of the government’s model for projecting future air quality. In effect it is a black box. The output is only as good as the data put in, and that is questionable.

According to David Renton, an environmental lawyer with legal firm Baker Botts, the model says air quality will meet the government’s objectives largely because it assumes pollution levels will fall in line with government policies. Unfortunately, there is no assurance this will happen.

There are flaws, too, with the government’s air quality objectives, which dictate acceptable levels for different pollutants. These were fixed in 1987 and have not been changed since, despite an increasing body of evidence that they have been set well above concentrations damaging to human health. That’s especially worrying for inhabitants of Tung Chung, where as the charts (pictured) show, atmospheric levels of toxic pollutants commonly exceed levels that the World Health Organisation say should not be passed on more than one day in 100.

And despite what the government says, it is likely that air quality around Tung Chung will deteriorate. Although the environmental impact assessment for the bridge project predicted that local pollution levels will meet the government’s present standards in 2031, the assessment did not factor in plans to build a third runway at Chek Lap Kok, which will also add heavily to pollution in the area.

What this indicates is that in making its economic arguments for new infrastructure projects, the government has neglected to factor in environmental costs. In particular, it has failed to account for the future health costs caused by the air quality deterioration they will cause.

Given that the government’s economic forecasts for its projects already look stretched, this is a major omission. Add in the environmental and health costs, and it is highly doubtful whether Hong Kong’s prized infrastructure projects will bring the city any net economic benefits at all.

Power Assets’ Sustainability Report 2010

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 15:07
Subject: Power Assets’ Sustainability Report 2010

(Message issued on behalf of T.C. Yee)

To:      Mr. James Middleton, Chair (

Clear The Air

Date:   31 August 2011

Dear Mr. Middleton,

Power Assets’ Sustainability Report 2010

It is my great pleasure to inform you of the publication and release of Power Assets Holdings Limited’s “Sustainability Report 2010”.

Built on our experience of independent social and environmental reporting since 2004 together with the encouraging feedback from our stakeholders over the years, this first annual Sustainability Report titled “On the Road to Sustainability” is prepared and assured to GRI A+ Application Level. The Report illustrates our enduring commitment to the journey towards sustainability. It covers the sustainability issues of Power Assets and provides our stakeholders an overall picture of our economic, environmental and social performances in 2010.

I hope you would enjoy reading the Report.  If you have any views or suggestions regarding our sustainability performance or reporting, please contact me at 3143 3889 or e-mail (   Please also feel free to tell us your views via the online feedback form of the Report.

Thank you for your continued support.

T.C. Yee

General Manger (Corporate Development)

The Hongkong Electric Company Limited

Power Assets Holdings Limited


Seminar on PM Pollutants

Dear Professors, Students and Colleagues,
Please be informed that a seminar by  Dr. Zhi Ning, Assistant Professor,
School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong will be held
on 5 Sept 2011 (Monday).

Schedule and abstract of Dr. Zhi Ning’s talk as follows:

Date: 5 Sept 2011 (Monday)
Time: 3:00p.m.
Venue: Room 1003, IENV (Lift 4)

Seminar Title:
Sources and Health Effects of PM Pollutants

Air pollution, including particulate matters (PM) and co-pollutants, is
ubiquitous component in the atmosphere exerting important impacts on human
health and global climate. Current air quality standard across different
regions is based on PM10 and/or PM2.5 mass concentration, however, PM is a
highly heterogeneous mixture with particle size ranging from a few
nanometers to a few tens of micrometers, and chemical compositions including
carbonaceous compounds, inorganic ions, heavy metals and trace elements etc.
A better understanding of the physicochemical properties of PM from
different sources is vital in assessing their impact on the environment and
devising emission control and mitigation strategies. In addition, numerous
epidemiological and toxicological studies have documented robust
associations between PM mass and adverse health outcomes. However, in
considering plausible biological mechanisms of injury, prevailing scientific
opinion contends that PM mass, as regulated in air quality standards, is
only a surrogate measure of other physical or chemical properties of PM that
are the actual cause of the observed health outcomes. A shift in the
paradigm for monitoring air quality from the current focus of atmospheric
pollutant concentrations toward identifying the most harmful toxicity
drivers is needed to improve our understanding of the source specific
adverse health effect and to inform policy makers to better protect the
public health. This presentation covers a series of case studies of
characterizing PM from heavy duty diesel vehicle emissions retrofitted with
newest control devices and source identification of ambient coarse PM in
southern California , as well as their potential implication to public

Bio of Dr. Zhi Ning recently joined the School of Energy and Environment in
City University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor. He has been a
Research Assistant Professor in University of Southern California and
Aerosol Research Manager of the Southern California Particle Center since
2009 after he received his Ph.D degree in the Environmental Engineering from
University of Southern California . His achievements in the doctoral
research work have been recognized by honoring him as the very first
recipient of the Outstanding Research Assistant Award at USC in 2007. Dr.
Ning has published about 30 peer-reviewed publications in the field of
environmental engineering with a focus on aerosol related research. His main
research interests include the aerosol sources characterization and
identification, instrumentation for pollution control and measurement and
personal exposure assessment.

All are welcome!

For EOs, please forward the above seminar announcement to the faculty
members, staff and students at your Department for me.  Thanks a lot.

Best regards,

Program Assistant
Division of Environment
HK University of Science & Technology
Tel. no.: (852) 2358-8362
Fax: (852) 2335-9317