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The true cost of consumption: The EU’s Land Footprint

EU’s dependence on overseas agricultural land trampling the world

Europe is becoming increasingly dependent on farm land beyond its borders, creating inequalities and threatening both the environment and rural communities, according to a new report released today by Friends of the Earth Europe.

The report reveals that the European Union requires almost 270 million hectares of agricultural land – known as Europe’s ‘Land Footprint’ – to sustain its unsustainable food production and agricultural practices. Almost 40% of this land is outside Europe, an area the size of Italy and France combined [1].

Meadhbh Bolger, resource use campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Overconsumption is eating up ever more land, often with disastrous consequences. It is unjust, irresponsible and unsustainable that we continue to use more than our fair share of global land and are shifting more than one-third of the impacts related to land consumption to ecosystems and communities outside of the EU. It is vital that the EU take steps to measure and reduce Europe’s Land Footprint.”


The report also reveals the knock-on impacts of over-reliance on imported animal feed and year-round seasonal goods, and surging demand for vegetable oils, particularly those for non-food uses such as biofuel – with a 34% increase in cropland consumed from outside the EU since 1990. Animal products like meat and dairy account for over 70% of the overall land requirements, and non-food crops like biofuels are linked to negative social impacts on local communities and environmental impacts, including forest loss.

Stanka Becheva, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “To reduce our inequitable footprint we need a radical overhaul in how and where we use land. Industrialised agriculture and global food chains are swallowing up land across the globe, damaging the environment and rural communities. We rapidly need a just transition to a greener way of farming that works for all people and the planet.”

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the European Union to reduce its land footprint, and the associated harmful impacts, ensuring that our use of land is environmentally sustainable and socially just.


This can be achieved by implementing a system for measuring, monitoring and reducing Europe’s land footprint, especially in the areas of bio-economy, circular economy and sustainability policies. Providing incentives that encourage a reduction in the consumption of land intensive products or products that embody relatively high environmental impacts like animal products will also drastically reduce Europe’s land footprint, according to the organisation.


[1] The “Land Footprint” as referred to above, and in the report, refers to agricultural land only (cropland and grassland). Due to current data limitations, EU-wide Land Footprints for non-agricultural products are not possible to calculate.

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Effectiveness of Central-Wan Chai Bypass in easing traffic congestion

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by the Hon Frankie Yick and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (June 22):


The public engagement document on the Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central and its Adjacent Areas has pointed out that one key consideration in assessing if electronic road pricing is a suitable solution for traffic congestion is whether a free-of-charge alternative route is available to motorists to bypass the charging area.The document has also pointed out that the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB), upon its commissioning, will serve as a free-of-charge alternative route, making it convenient for motorists whose journeys do not start nor end in Central or its adjacent areas to make a detour around the charging area.Regarding the effectiveness of CWB in easing the traffic congestion in Central, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) as the Government indicated in February 2014 that upon the commissioning of CWB, it would be only five minutes’ drive from Central to Island Eastern Corridor at North Point, but now CWB cannot be completed in 2017 as originally scheduled and the number of vehicles in the territory upon the commissioning of CWB is expected to be higher than the original estimation, whether the Government has reassessed the time required for the aforesaid journey; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) of the authorities’ latest estimations of (i) the vehicular flows of CWB and its percentage in the design capacity of CWB, (ii) the reduction in vehicular flows on various major roads in Central as a result of the commissioning of CWB, and (iii) the effectiveness of CWB in easing the traffic congestion in Central, in the first five years upon the commissioning of CWB; and

(3) given that the Commissioner for Transport indicated in an article published in a newspaper on March 8 of this year that, as pointed out in past studies, CWB would render no direct help to easing traffic congestion on non-major trunk roads (e.g. Queen’s Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central) within Central, and at the time a large number of vehicles that needed to go into Central would still be using these roads, and the authorities therefore did not expect that the traffic congestion in the locations concerned would be much improved, of the details of the aforesaid studies and the data in support of the aforesaid conclusion?



The Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) is a strategic route along the northern shore of the Hong Kong Island, aiming to alleviate the serious traffic congestion at Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road.It is anticipated that upon commissioning, drivers whose origins and destinations are not in Central will no longer use the current major trunk road that runs through Central from east to west (viz. Connaught Road Central).However, those drivers whose origins or destinations are in Central will still have to use the non-major trunk roads (e.g.

Queen’s Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central).

The CWB project is a large-scale and complex road infrastructure project.It has encountered various difficulties and challenges since construction commenced in 2009 which affected the progress of works.Part of the construction of the CWB tunnel structure that has been entrusted by the Highways Department (HyD) to the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to be carried out under the Wan Chai Development Phase II project (WDII), is part of the main trunk road of the CWB.The large metal object that was previously found at the seabed of the WDII works site caused suspension of reclamation and associated works in the area.After the reclamation works resumed in early July 2015, the CEDD notified the HyD of the revised site handing over schedule after the recommencement of works.The CEDD estimated that the section concerned of the CWB tunnel could only be completed for handing over to the HyD¡¦s contractor for carrying out the subsequent works in mid-2017.As such, the HyD anticipated that the related subsequent works like installing various electrical and mechanical facilities (including a traffic control and surveillance system, a tunnel ventilation system, a lighting system and a fire services system), laying road pavement and carrying out system testing and commissioning, could not be completed within the same year.In other words, the CWB could not be commissioned in 2017 as originally scheduled.The HyD together with their consulting engineer and resident site staff will continue to closely monitor the works progress of the CWB project and will duly assess the schedule of works with the aim of commissioning the CWB as early as possible.

My reply to the various parts of the Hon Frankie Yick’s question is as follows:

In the discussion paper PWSC(2009-10)52 submitted to the Legislative Council Public Works Subcommittee by the Government in 2009, the following details of projected volume to capacity (v/c) ratios (Note 1) in the morning peaks in 2017 (anticipated commissioning year at that time) and 2021 have been provided:

If withoutwithIf withoutwith
the CWBthe CWBthe CWBthe CWB



As shown from the above table, at the initial stage of commissioning of the CWB, the v/c ratio in the morning peaks is 0.7, meaning that at its initial stage of commissioning, the capacity of the CWB is sufficient to cope with the anticipated traffic volume with a smooth traffic flow.Therefore, it is anticipated that same as the original estimates, it will only take about five minutes to drive from Central to the Island Eastern Corridor at North Point.Also as shown from the above table, at the initial stage of commissioning of the CWB, the v/c ratios of Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road will decrease from 1.3 to 0.9.Therefore, the Government anticipates that upon commissioning of the CWB, the traffic congestion at Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road can be alleviated.

However, the CWB will bring no direct relief to non-major trunk roads (e.g. Queen’s Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central) in Central.After the commissioning of the CWB, these roads will still be used by a large number of vehicles which need to enter Central.As such, the traffic condition in the district is not expected to improve significantly.With reference to the information in the Supplementary Note provided by the Government to the Expert Panel on Sustainable Transport Planning and Central ¡V Wan Chai Bypass under the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee (Note 2) in 2005, the same conclusion could be drawn – after the commissioning of the CWB, traffic congestion will only be slightly alleviated during peak hours at certain busy junctions in Central (e.g. the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central, and the junction of Queen’s Road Central and Ice House Street (Note 3)).

Note 1: Volume/capacity (v/c) ratio is an indication of the traffic conditions of roads during peak hours.

A v/c ratio equals to or less than 1.0 is considered acceptable. A v/c ratio between 1.0 and 1.2 indicates a manageable degree of congestion. A v/c ratio above 1.2 indicates more serious congestion.

Note 2: Please see Appendix 4.6B of Supplementary Note No.5 (

Note 3: The performance of a traffic signalised junction is indicated by its reserve capacity (RC).A positive RC indicates that the junction is operating with spare capacity; and a negative RC indicates that the junction is overloaded, resulting in traffic queues and longer travelling time.After the commissioning of the CWB, the RC of the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central and the junction of Queen’s Road Central and Ice House Street during peak hours are expected to improve from 2% to 6% and from -3% to 5% respectively.

Barcelona is creating massive, pedestrian-friendly “superblocks” to combat pollution

Pedestrians will soon have more options in Barcelona.

Pedestrians will soon have more options in Barcelona.

Air pollution, noise, and pedestrian accidents plague Barcelona. Like many modern urban areas, the Spanish city has consistently failed to meet air quality standards set by the World Health Organization, and studies attribute more than 3,500 deaths per year in Barcelona to the city’s polluted air. High noise levels from traffic and tourists, as well as scores of pedestrian injuries and deaths, have pushed city officials to create a bold plan they hope will set an example for the rest of the world.

“Superblocks” are at the core of the new plan, which was first outlined in a 102-page report in 2014. By limiting cars and buses to main thoroughfares in the city, urban planners are hoping to encourage people to walk and bicycle more than they do now. Barcelona will add 200 km (124 miles) of bike path to the city’s current total of 100 km (62 miles), and will reroute busses so that all residents have a bus stop within 250 meters of their home.

More room for pedestrian activities.(Urban Mobility Plan of Barcelona PMU, 2013-2018)

More room for pedestrian activities.(Urban Mobility Plan of Barcelona PMU, 2013-2018)

Barcelona’s “Urban Mobility Plan” will be implemented in phases, and starts by targeting the most congested neighborhoods. The Eixample neighborhood, which was built in the mid-1800s to relieve the density of the overcrowded Old City, will be the first to adopt superblocks, according to The Guardian. The neighborhood has only 1.85 square meters of green space per inhabitant, far below the WHO’s suggestion of 9 square meters (97 square feet), while the rest of Barcelona has only 6.6 square meters (71 square feet) of green space per inhabitant, on average.

An aerial view of the Eixample neighborhood.(Alhzeiia/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

An aerial view of the Eixample neighborhood.(Alhzeiia/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Eixample, which literally means “expansion,” is composed of distinctive octagonal blocks. Nine of these blocks, housing 5,000 to 6,000 people total, will make up one superblock in the city’s new plan. The internal intersections, devoid of cars, will become municipal squares. Each superblock will contain 160 of these squares, which will add a lot of green space.

“This plan sums up the essence of urban ecology,” Janet Sanz, a city councillor for ecology, urbanism and mobility, told The Guardian. “Public spaces need to be spaces to play, where green is not an anecdote—where the neighborhood’s history and local life have a presence.”

Why electric cars aren’t the best route to truly sustainable transport in Hong Kong

Evan Auyang says a green transport policy must include steps to curb the huge growth in vehicle numbers, adopt more technology, and promote walking and cycling

Hail the adoption of electric cars in Hong Kong! Already a bestseller in the city, electric car maker Tesla recently announced it will soon launch a more affordable model. Crowds lined up at Tesla’s three showrooms across Hong Kong, even though the car won’t be ready until 2017. “It is very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport,” declared Telsa’s chief executive officer Elon Musk.

Is Hong Kong finally moving towards a more sustainable transport system? The government is certainly doing its share to promote the adoption of electric vehicles, having built more than 1,000 charging points across the city and offering tax incentives for the purchase of the cars. Indeed, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah personally leads the Steering Committee on the Promotion of Electric Vehicles, which includes six other secretaries (or their representatives), including the environment, transport and development secretaries, as well as business leaders in the sector. This indicates the importance the government places on the issue.

And let’s not forget, Hong Kong is No 1 in the world in terms of adoption of public transport. Ninety per cent of motorised journeys are made on public transport such as railways, buses and minibuses. This, coupled with the continued building of railways and the introduction of electric buses, plus increasing adoption of private electric cars, must mean Hong Kong is heading towards having the most sustainable transport system in the world, right?

Not quite.

Hong Kong lags significantly behind the rest of the world in at least three areas of sustainable transport policymaking: road space and congestion management; adoption of technology; and embracing cycling and walking as a popular means of longer-distance transport.

First, Hong Kong does not have a good vision of road space usage. This is clear from the worsening congestion on our roads, which is spreading beyond the traditionally busy areas such as Central. Now, traffic jams are common in Kowloon East (supposedly the emerging second central business district), Sha Tin, Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and even Yuen Long.

The cause is the unprecedented rise in the number of vehicles on the roads in recent years, particularly private cars. From 2006 to 2016, the number of private cars has increased by 46 per cent, from 390,000 to 570,000, while the population has risen by less than 7 per cent. This alone accounts for 95 per cent of the increase in the total number of vehicles over the past 10 years. Hong Kong’s road building averages less than 1 per cent (in kilometre terms) per year. This means the number of vehicles is growing much faster than our roads can accommodate.

The impact of uncontrolled vehicle growth cannot be underestimated. As congestion mounts, the road-based public transport system (that is, buses and minibuses), which carries 50 per cent of public transport users, deteriorates in performance. Indeed, average bus speeds have fallen significantly in recent years. Because railways cannot reach all areas of Hong Kong and are generally deemed uncomfortable during peak hours, this would spur the increasing adoption of private cars. A vicious cycle is then produced, of even more vehicles on the road and even more desire to own a car for comfort and convenience. In fact, this is precisely what has been happening in the past few years.

Roads are like the blood vessels of a city – when they clog, economic activity slows. It’s possible to think of a handful of cities that have never lived up to their potential, such as Beijing, Bangkok and Mumbai, as the best international talent does not wish to live in severely congested cities.

Second, Hong Kong has been slow to adopt many sustainable transport and “smart city” practices. While it is truly world-class in its ability to build infrastructure, the city is not at the forefront in the adoption of IT-enabled demand-management tools. For example, many cities have heavily invested in smart information technology systems to control traffic flows, with major roads managed by sensors and cameras. Illegally parked cars are ticketed from traffic control rooms rather than relying on physical enforcement. In Hong Kong, illegal parking takes up 60 per cent of traffic police time.

In congestion-conscious cities like London, smart systems have been implemented to automatically manage traffic flows along major corridors on a real-time basis. Where traffic flows are determined to be less than optimal, algorithms automatically adjust the phases of traffic signals.

Singapore has already established working groups to look into driverless vehicles. By utilising the research and development know-how of the private sector, it is on the cusp of launching a pilot driverless bus service as well as on-demand private driverless car services and shuttles. For Hong Kong to be a truly world-class city, we need to get to the cutting edge of technological adoption, and research and development.

Third, Hong Kong has yet to embrace the truly green options of walking and cycling. Globally, international cities have implemented new policies to promote these non-motorised forms of transport. Cities are now increasingly aware that walking is actually the most efficient and greenest way to travel short distances and, as a result, have invested heavily in widening pavements and closing off vehicle lanes to create green space.

Pedestrianisation around New York’s Times Square has led to a dramatic fall in motorised traffic, while also cleaning up the air and allowing more tourists to take a pleasant stroll and shop in the area. Politically, this was very difficult initially, but citizens embraced the idea soon after it was implemented.

We must recognise that true sustainable transport goes well beyond just applauding the increased adoption of private electric vehicles and upgrading the city’s bus fleet and polluting diesel trucks. A more holistic approach is needed to imagine, then create, greener urban spaces for our future. It takes planning and execution. Moreover, it takes vision, knowledge and political courage to generate the right discussions to enable even small steps to be taken.

Evan Auyang is a board director of the independent think tank Civic Exchange

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Kam Sheung Road Station Phase 1 Property Development

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Still looking at artificial islands plan

I refer to the article by Dr Martin Williams (“Extreme folly of reclamation amid rising sea levels”, February 4). I would like to provide relevant information for reference to your readers.

Hong Kong is committed to working together with the international community to combat the challenge of climate change. Among the measures, the Civil Engineering and Development Department is updating the existing design guidelines for coastal structures including reclamation works, making reference to the latest assessment -reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to take into account the predicted sea level rise.

Reclamation is a recognised major source of land formation for coastal cities worldwide. In 2013, the government conducted a public engagement exercise on the enhanced land supply strategy and identified the central waters between Lantau and Hong Kong Island as having good potential for development of artificial islands for accommodating populations and as a new core business district.

Against this background, the government has proposed to carry out technical studies to determine the feasibility and suitability of the reclamation.

While no position has been taken on the proposal at this stage, the works departments reckon that purely on the technical ground of coastal defence against severe weather conditions, there is no reason to regard the construction of artificial islands as “folly”.

The design standards and technology for reclamation works and coastal defence structures will take into consideration the probable severe weather conditions, including storm surges.

Paul C. K. Chu, senior engineer/public relations, Civil Engineering and Development Department
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New HK$43.7bn Kowloon highway project to cost 3.4 times more than expected

The financial budget unveiled on Wednesday revealed that the latest estimates for the new Central Kowloon route highway project stand at HK$43.7 billion. The sum is 3.4 times more than original the amount tabled in 2002.

The infrastructure project is set to commence during the next financial year. According to the Highways Department website, the highway will extend for 4.7km from Yau Ma Tei through to the Kai Tak Development and Kowloon Bay. It is expected to relieve traffic congestion in Central Kowloon and includes a 3.9km long tunnel.

It is predicted that the construction of the highway will take seven years and could be online by 2023.

Proposed Central Kowloon route. Photo: GovHK.

Proposed Central Kowloon route. Photo: GovHK.

The cost of the project was adjusted in 2002, when it was proposed that the highway could carry three lanes instead of two. It was then predicted that the project will cost HK$10 billion. Now, at HK$43.7 billion, each kilometre averages HK$9.2 billion, much higher than the high-speed rail’s average cost at HK$3.2 billion per kilometre, Ming Pao reported.

The Executive Council authorised the project last month, but no price was stated in the gazette, RTHK reported.

Proposed Central Kowloon route. Photo:

Proposed Central Kowloon route. Photo:

The Professional Commons convenor Albert Lai Kwong-tak said that it was unreasonable for the project to have a threefold increase in cost and said the government could be overestimating the cost of the project due to pressure surrounding over expenditure in projects in recent years.

“It’s a self-defence mechanism – better to overestimate than underestimate,” he said.

The Highways Department has yet to respond to media inquiries by RTHK and Ming Pao.

Dim prospects of HK-Zhuhai-Macau bridge breaking even

Proposed traffic restrictions on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge mean it will be underutilized and take a long time to repay the investment in it. Photo:

Proposed traffic restrictions on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge mean it will be underutilized and take a long time to repay the investment in it. Photo:

The Transport and Housing Department (THD) has made proposals for the use of the new bridge to Zhuhai and Macau that will strictly limit the number and kind of vehicles that can use it.

The restrictions mean it will take decades for the bridge to pay back Hong Kong’s enormous investment in it.

Construction of the 42 kilometer bridge will not be completed until the end of next year at the earliest, one year behind the original schedule.

On Jan. 30, at a stormy meeting, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved HK$5.4 billion in extra funding, in addition to the original budget of HK$30.4 billion.

So far seven workers have died and 129 have been injured during construction.

The construction of the bridge is a severe engineering challenge, requiring the building of tunnels and bridges across the Pearl River and the creation of giant man-made islands at either end where most of the traffic on the bridge will end its journey.

In a statement on Friday, the THD said that, at the end of last year, the governments of the three places involved and bridge management officials had conducted a study that found that the bridge would not be ready for vehicles by the end of this year.

It said the project should be completed by the end of next year and that it faces serious difficulties and challenges, including an unstable supply of raw materials, lack of workers, restrictions due to aviation and to environmental requirements and sinking of the landfill into the sea.

In a submission to Legco, the THD made proposals for which vehicles will be allowed to use the bridge.

The main users will be large passenger buses that have licenses to operate in Hong Kong and Macau or Hong Kong and Guangdong.

In the first three years, the department will give six-year permits, which can be renewed once, to 300 buses.

The bus operator will be allowed to make 300 journeys per day during the first three years.

The operator will be chosen in the second quarter of this year at the earliest.

It will be a company jointly managed by representatives from the three places and receive a five-year licence that can be renewed once.

The buses will collect passengers from stops that are part of the public transport system of the three places.

During busy periods, they will leave every five minutes; during less busy periods, they will leave every 10-20 minutes.

It will also give three-year permits, which can be renewed once, to 250 large passenger rental cars.

Similarly, the cars need licenses to operate in Hong Kong and Macau or Hong Kong and Guangdong.

There will be no limit to the number of journeys they can make in one day.

On the use by private cars, the THD said this issue was still being discussed by the three governments and that there was no timetable for private vehicles with Guangdong permits to use the bridge, nor would that be suitable.

To facilitate the development of the transport and logistics sectors, the department proposes that 13,000 Hong Kong and 800 mainland cargo vehicles with permits for both places be allowed to use the bridge.

Since the Macau government does not wish to allow the entry of such vehicles into the city, they will unload their cargo on the large man-made island being built offshore; it will then be transferred to vehicles from Macau.

On the man-made island on the Hong Kong side, there will be no area for unloading cargo, because of the shortage of space.

The three parties have not agreed on the tariff for the vehicles. It will be denominated in renminbi.

These proposals address the concerns of the Hong Kong and Macau governments and people who do not want a large influx of vehicles from Guangdong onto streets that are already crowded.

So they will be welcomed in both cities.

On the other hand, they mean that the bridge will be underutilised.

Experts estimate that, in the first year, it will carry only 9,200 vehicles.

That means that it will take decades – if ever – to repay the enormous investment.

There is also a question about how many people will use the tourist buses.

It is economic for those on a group tour of Hong Kong and whose bus can take them directly from their hotel or the airport onto the bridge.

Individual travellers will have to go to the departure point on the man-made island close to Lantau Island and then take the bus.

Is it not simpler and quicker for them to go to Central and take a 60-minute ferry to Macau or go to Tsimshatsui and take a 70-minute ferry to Zhuhai?

The ferries deliver them conveniently into the center of each city.

Legco report slams ‘unacceptable’ management of vacant school premises in Hong Kong

Education Bureau and Lands Department both criticised for failure to deliver comprehensive policy to utilise valuable land Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim has admitted there is room for improvement in the way his bureau handles vacant school premises, after a Legislative Council committee report slammed its management of the situation as “unacceptable”. The report, published yesterday by the Legco public accounts committee, also criticised the Lands Department.

“Despite the scarcity of land resources, the Education Bureau and the Lands Department have not effectively managed and allocated the vacant school premises under their respective purviews,” the report, which followed up on November’s Audit Commission, said.

The audit watchdog had earlier found that more than 100 closed schools had been lying empty and unused for up to 36 years. Among them, 29 were overseen by the Education Bureau and 73 by the Lands Department. In its report yesterday, the committee expressed “grave dismay” that the bureau had failed to create a comprehensive policy on the effective use of vacant school premises.

In response, Ng said 14 of the 29 premises had been put into use again and nine had been reserved for future educational uses. Four had already been retrieved by the government and nine were on private land, meaning the government would need some time to handle the situation.

“I agree that there is room for improvement in identifying, allocating and managing vacant school premises. We are reviewing the mechanism and we expect it to be completed in the middle of this year,” Ng said. For the 73 premises overseen by the Lands Department, director of lands Bernadette Linn said in December that 24 were being planned for uses by other government offices or interested organisations; 18 were on private land where the school sponsoring bodies had no obligation to deliver possession to the government.

Meanwhile, the committee also criticised the Environment Bureau and the Environmental Protection Department for their “lack of determination” in executing plans to manage municipal solid waste in a “professional and effective manner”.

The government had set a policy to cut municipal solid waste disposal at landfills from 60 per cent in 2004 to 25 per cent by 2014. But as of 2013, 63 per cent of the waste was still heading for dumps.
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Public outcry triggers scrapping of Tsim Sha Tsui harborfront revamp

The government made a surprise announcement today that it will significantly scale back a plan to revitalise the Tsim Sha Tsui harborfront.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it is scrapping the proposal to open restaurants, observation decks and a film gallery on the Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade.

The revamp was approved by the Town Planning Board in August last year. The work was originally expected to take more than two years.

LCSD says it will revise the design to make it simple and maintain the area as “a passive public open space.’’

In a statement, a spokesman for the department said the change was made in response to views from the public consultation last year.

It said the majority of the respondents wished to have fewer structures to be built on the promenade so that people can stroll on a more spacious area and enjoy unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour. Respondents also expressed the wish to shorten the period during which the promenade has to be closed for renovation.

Under the new plan, all trees will be retained. Only basic improvement works will be carried out. The period during which the promenade has to be closed for renovation is expected to be reduced by about half.

The statement also said LCSD will manage the facilities.—RTHK