NOTE FOR PUBLIC WORKS SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
Supplementary information on 720TH -
Widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling
When Members considered paper PWSC(98-99)45 on 720TH - Widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling at the Public Works Sub-Committee (PWSC) meeting on 25 November 1998, we undertook to provide supplementary information on the environmental conservation and landscaping aspects covered in the proposed consultancy.
THE ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSE
2.As part of the studies under this part-upgrading of 720TH, we would ask the consultants to carry out a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to address the environmental impacts arising from the implementation of this project. The consultants shall observe and follow in the EIA process, the principles, procedures, guidelines, requirements and criteria set out in the Technical Memorandum issued by the Director of Environment Protection under Section 16 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO).
3. The general principles that the consultant will have to follow in carrying out the EIA study are -
- Description of the environment
The consultants shall carry out baseline environmental surveys to determine the existing environmental conditions on the site and in all environs likely to be affected by the proposed project works.
- Impact prediction and evaluation
The consultants shall identify potential impacts that may be harmful or beneficial to the environment and identify receivers, habitants or natural resources which are vulnerable to change. The consultants shall also predict and evaluate the likely nature, extent and magnitude of the anticipated effects and changes in quantitative terms as far as possible.
- Impact mitigation
In considering the methodologies proposed for mitigation, the consultants shall give priority to avoidance of impacts. The consultants shall identify and evaluate mitigation measures in order to avoid, reduce or remedy the impacts and assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
4.As part of the EIA study, we will carry out landscape and visual impact assessments. The consultants shall take into account the following considerations in the course of preliminary designs for landscaping -
- buffer planting strips should be provided on both sides of the highways where practicable in order to provide more effective visual screening between the highway and nearby residential blocks;
- planting should be provided to help screen and visually soften the appearance of all new structures (e.g. noise barriers, entrances to under-bridges etc.). Space should be provided, where practicable, for planting strips to be provided on both sides of any proposed noise barriers; and
- the design concept for noise barriers should be to reduce their visual impact by maximising the extent of vision panels, by reducing the linear elements and by providing a textured and colour patterned surface to the solid panels to blend into the surrounding landscape.
5. In addition to the visual and landscape aspects, we shall also assess under the EIA study the impact on noise, air and water quality, solid waste disposal, heritage and ecology caused by the construction and operation of the road.
6.Apart from the requirements of the EIAO Technical Memorandum, the consultants shall also comply with guidelines laid down in Government technical circulars such as Works Bureau Technical Circular No. 25/93 *Control of Visual
Impact of Slopes* and No. 24/94 *Tree Preservation*. These two technical circulars stipulate, amongst other requirements, that the consultants shall minimise the extents of slope cutting and make all finished slopes as natural as possible. Also, the consultants shall endeavour to preserve trees which will be affected by the project. When existing trees are required to be moved as a result of the proposed project works, the consultants should first consider transplanting rather than felling them. The Administration shall vet and approve all landscaping works and compensatory planting schemes proposed by the consultants.
7. All the foregoing requirements will be included in the consultancy Brief for the studies and preliminary design assignment.