PLC Paper No. LS 50

Paper for the House Committee Meeting of the Provisional Legislative Council on 28 November 1997

Legal Service Division Report on Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Harbour Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (Amendment) Bill 1997 and Tate Cairn Tunnel (Tate Cairn Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (Amendment) Bill 1997

Objects of the Bills

To defer the commencement of (a) the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Harbour Tunnel Regulations)(Amendment) Ordinance 1997 and (b) the Tate Cairn Tunnel (Tate Cairn Tunnel Regulations)(Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (collectively 懀he Amendment Ordinances� from 1 January 1998 to 1 March 1999 and 1 May 1999 respectively.

Provisional LegCo Brief Reference

2. TRAN 3/01/56 of 11 November 1997 issued by the Transport Bureau.

Date of First Reading

3. 26 November 1997.


4. The Amendment Ordinances amend the concentration limits for carbon monoxide, the concentration limits for nitrogen dioxide and the visibility level required to be maintained in the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Tate Cairn Tunnel to be in line with the international standards of air quality recommended in the Practice Notes on Control of Air Pollution in Vehicle Tunnels issued by the Environmental Protection Department in 1993.

5. The Amendment Ordinances were introduced by the Hon IP Kwok-him as Member Bills. During resumption of the Second Reading debate of the Member Bills in June 1997, he moved Committee stage amendments to provide for a commencement clause to each Member Bill so that it will come into operation on 1 January 1998. He explained that the reason for doing so was fairness to all tunnel companies, since the resolution amending the Western Harbour Crossing Regulation (L.N. 94 of 1997) proposed by him and passed by the Legislative Council in April 1997 allows a six-month period for the requirement for enhanced air quality standards to take effect.

6. During the debate on the Member Bills, the Secretary for Transport pointed out that tunnel companies may need time to conduct studies to ascertain whether the existing ventilation systems would be able to meet the enhanced standards, and how necessary improvement works should be carried out. The Administration indicated that they may need to defer the commencement date if necessary.

7. According to the PLC Brief, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel Company Limited and the Tate Cairn Tunnel Company Limited will need 14 and 16 months respectively, as from 1 January 1998, to conduct further detailed studies, to procure the necessary equipment and to carry out improvement works to meet the new standards.

8. Annex B to the PLC Brief sets out the air quality standards applicable to different road tunnels in Hong Kong. Members may note that pursuant to the resolution referred to in paragraph 5 above, the standards for the Western Harbour Crossing have been amended to 100 ppm for carbon monoxide and 1 ppm for nitrogen dioxide with effect from 23 October 1997.

Public Consultation

9. Both tunnel companies have agreed to the proposed commencement dates.

Consultation with the Provisional LegCo Panel

10. The PLC Panel on Transport received a briefing on the Bills at a meeting on 14 November 1997. Members generally supported the Bills.


11. Both the legal and drafting aspects of the Bills are in order. Subject to members�views, the Bills are ready for resumption of the Second Reading debate.

Prepared by
Wong Sze-man, Bernice
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
24 November 1997

Last Updated on 4 December 1997