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More studies demanded on third runway impact

18 June 2011

Green groups charge many environmental factors not addressed in airport study

The Airport Authority is attempting to dismiss environmental concerns about the proposed third runway, green groups alleged on Friday.

Nine environment groups argued the Airport Authority should address the influence on various aspects of the environment such as the marine life, including the habitat of Chinese White Dolphins.

It should assess noise pollution, and carbon emissions by aircraft and their affect on air quality, the groups said.

In this connection, they urged the authority to release more information and extend the public consultation period.

The Airport Authority responded that it already explained the findings in the preliminary impact assessment study.

The authority said it has collected invaluable views and that it will continue to explain the preliminary findings and carefully consider the views it received.

It also expressed hopes to conclude public consultation on Sept 2 as planned.

The Airport Authority recently published a consultation paper on planned expansion.

It contains two options, with the first being to maintain the present two runways to address medium-term development.

The second option proposes a third runway to increase the capacity beyond 2030.

The authority planned to consult the public for three months.

Nine green groups from Hong Kong on Friday had a three-hour meeting with Stanley Hui, the authority’s chief executive, and his senior management team.

Speaking to a media conference after the meeting, Thomas Choi, senior environmental affairs officer of Friends of the Earth, said the groups were concerned with air quality if the third runway goes ahead.

Besides, the report does not take into account carbon emissions by vehicles passing by the airport’s vicinity, including Tung Chung and North Lantau, Choi said.

Samuel Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said the authority has attempted to dismiss the impacts on the Chinese White Dolphins by modifying the document on dolphin movements that he had prepared for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The authority management finally apologized to the green groups. The environment groups responded that the authority should apologize to the public for having misled the people of Hong Kong.

Alan Leung, WWF Hong Kong’s conservation manager, also voiced concern for the environment of the Chinese White Dolphins.

He also asked the authority to provide more information on the ecological environment of the site designated for reclamation because the site is restricted area.

China Daily

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