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Hong Kong lawmakers approve HK$7.5b Ta Kwu Ling landfill expansion, Tuen Mun study

13 December, 2014

Cheung Chi-fai

Environment officials had another victory yesterday, securing funding for an extension to the Ta Kwu Ling landfill and a study into expanding the Tuen Mun tip.

The Legislative Council’s Finance Committee approved the controversial HK$7.5 billion plan to expand the New Territories landfill, which officials had said would reach capacity by 2017.

Lawmakers will vote on a proposal to build a HK$19.2 billion incinerator on an artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau on Friday.

Officials can now proceed with the expansion plan for Ta Kwu Ling, which will add 70 hectares to the landfill and capacity for another 19 million cubic metres of waste. The building work is expected to be tendered out by the end of the year, and the extension should open by 2018.

Last week, lawmakers approved funding for the HK$2.1 billion expansion of the Tseung Kwan O tip, triggering outrage from residents who said they were considering legal action.

Both of the landfill projects had been delayed for over six weeks by filibustering.

Support from the pro-establishment camp was crucial for the Ta Kwu Ling project, which was passed by 34 votes in favour to 19 against. Pan-democrats continued their non-cooperation campaign by tabling amendments, at least 40 of which were put forward for debate – most of them from People Power’s Albert Chan Wai-yip. All were rejected.

Some HK$38 million in funding for a feasibility study into the Tuen Mun landfill expansion was also passed yesterday, with 27 lawmakers for it and 16 against.

Officials had tried to quell opposition to the plan by shrinking the proposed expansion by 20 hectares to 180 hectares.

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung tabled a motion that independent health checks be carried out on Tuen Mun residents before work began. But it was rejected, along with dozens more.

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