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Department Must Not Build Tunnel Portal Close to Yau Ma Tei Estate

SCMP – Updated on Dec 14, 2008

Serious planning mistakes have been made by officials with infrastructure projects near an estate in Yau Ma Tei.

Flyovers, interchanges and many roads have been built close to Prosperous Garden, yet no mitigation measures have been put in place for residents.

Over a 10-year period they have had to endure severe noise and exhaust pollution from traffic.

At no time has the government made the necessary improvements.

The Highways Department has made serious errors with these projects. For example the Gascoigne Road flyover had a very serious design fault, as it was built without any noise insulation barriers being installed to protect residents.

Now, to add insult to injury, the department will cause residents further disruption with its Central Kowloon Route.

It intends to build the route’s tunnel portal next to Prosperous Garden. Officials have shown no regard for the health and traffic nuisance concerns of residents. Various environmental indicators show that the current level of noise from traffic affecting Prosperous Garden exceeds legal standards.

Also, over the last eight years, the air in Yau Tsim Mong District [which includes Yau Ma Tei] has failed to comply with air-quality objectives. Harmful pollutants from traffic have a long-term effect on the health of local residents, such as causing respiratory illnesses.

In accordance with the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, this tunnel portal should not be located close to a residential community that already has serious pollution.

There should be a buffer zone so that any nuisance caused by vehicle emissions is kept to a minimum.

By failing to provide this, the Highways Department is letting down Prosperous Garden residents: it is failing to take into account the health risks that they face as a consequence of this tunnel project.

Edward Lee, representative, Environmental Group on Central Kowloon Route

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