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Greens aim new blows at air targets

Hong Kong Standard

Monday, February 06, 2012

Nearly three weeks have passed since new clean-air targets were announced, but attacks by environmentalists on the proposals show no sign of abating.

Green groups Friends of the Earth and Clean Air Network yesterday rolled out a fresh line of criticism, alleging the new Air Quality Objectives violate existing legal provisions.

They say by enacting “harmfully low” objectives and delaying implementation for the benefit of major construction projects the government is in breach of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance.

Friends of the Earth legal adviser senior counsel Ruy Barretto said sections of the provisions require objectives be created and fulfilled in the public interest, while the objectives were based in getting environmental impact assessment approval for projects.

Thomas Choi Ka-man, senior environmental officer from Friends of the Earth, accused the government of enacting lax objectives and delaying tactics to create a “backdoor exit” for it to achieve the completion of its projects.

Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak said the environment secretary has the power up to 2014 to enact amendments without going through the legislative process.

“This attempt to legislate for more delays clearly shows the government’s dishonesty in confronting the issue,” he added.


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