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September 2nd, 2011:

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Runway needed to keep us up there, says Ip

Hong Kong Standard – 2 Sept. 2011

Lawmaker and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has thrown her support behind the third-runway proposal so that the SAR can retain its status as an international aviation hub.

Ip said the project will also create jobs and maintain the territory’s competitiveness in the world.

“If the airport’s capacity is not increased, Hong Kong may lose its position as an international aviation hub. We will lag behind if it is not constructed,” Ip said.

She described the third runway as being “vital” for Hong Kong’s development, and said Guangzhou Baiyun Airport will complete its third and fourth runways before the end of 2013 and 2020, respectively.


Ip is worried the public may not reach a consensus on the proposal and the consultation may need to be extended.

Using London’s Heathrow Terminal 5 as an example, she said the consultation lasted for four years and did more harm than good to London as it lost out on the economic benefits brought about by the new terminal.

One of the main reasons that a number of green groups are opposed to the third runway is that the 650 hectares of reclaimed area are near the habitat of the Chinese white dolphins.

Although Ip said she is not a marine expert, she believes the Airport Authority can provide effective mitigation measures to minimize the runway’s impact on the dolphins as well as residents living in the vicinity.

For instance, she pointed out that the third runway will create noise pollution for residents and urged the authority to install soundproof windows in their flats.

She also said residents may need to close their windows because of the noise and run their air conditioners more often, so the authority should provide electricity subsidies for them.

Her party stressed that economic development and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive as the aviation industry has been introducing new technology to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution.

It added the government should also hire independent experts to conduct in-depth studies on how the third runway would affect air and noise quality in the area.

Meanwhile, WWF Hong Kong handed a petition with over 7,500 signatures to the Airport Authority, and called on the body to analyze the true environmental costs of the airport expansion options.

“As the many thousands of signatures illustrate, Hong Kong people are deeply concerned that a huge infrastructure project is being sold to them without the full costs of the project being revealed,” said its conservation director, Andy Cornish.

The three-month consultation will end today.