(42 ) in PELB(E)55/16/26(98)

Tel No. : 2848 2945
Fax No : 2530 5264

5 November, 1998

Mr Fabian Pedrazzini
The Green Lantau Association
Tai O P O Box 6
Tai O
Lantau Island

Lantau Conservation Plan

Following my initial reply to you on 2 September 1998, I have sought comments from relevant departments on the range of recommendations made by the various green groups in the Lantau Conservation Plan. I am now able to give you a substantive reply to your letter of 14 August to Mr Bowen Leung.

On behalf of the Government, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to you and other green groups for putting so much effort in carrying out such an extensive study of the environment in Lantau Island and in compiling the Lantau Conservation Plan. The Plan contains some important findings on the natural resources of Lantau and many interesting ideas which would definitely be useful to conservation work on the island.

I would be happy to meet you in future so that we can further discuss your Conservation Plan. In the meantime, I would like to give you our responses to your 16 recommendations here below, using your same notations:

1. Tai Ho Stream, wetlands and mangroves
[Any new town development at Tai Ho should be carefully planned to ensure that the natural stream banks, bed and mouth are retained. The stream and a designated buffer zone should be designated as an SSSI under OZP or DPA plans. There should be no further reclamation of the bay.]

  1. Development in Tai Ho is under study and it is our aim to retain ecological features intact as far as possible. This will include minimising the extent of reclamation, retaining the continuity of streams and maximizing retention of ecological features in their natural state. Where engineering features are required the interfaces will be designed to maximise potential for re-colonisation and recreation of habitat. Before the commencement of any construction works, an EIA study will be conducted for submission to the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) for advice.

  2. We will further investigate whether the stream should be designated as an SSSI.

2. Tung Chung Stream and Seagrass beds at San Tau
[The extent and shape of reclamation planned for Tung Chung Bay should be realigned to ensure that the natural coastline and suitable hydrological conditions are retained. Both the stream mouth and existing mudflats should be retained. A buffer zone around the stream, seagrass beds and mangrove should be designated as an SSSI under OZP or DPA plans.]

Reclamation at Tung Chung was identified in the North Lantau Development Study produced in 1993. Current studies on development in Tung Chung will review reclamation requirements. The seagrass bed and mangrove stand at San Tau was already designated as an SSSI in 1994. We will make sure that any reclamation would be designed to maximize the buffer zone to this feature. Water quality modelling will be carried out as part of the EIA study to ensure that acceptable hydrological conditions are maintained on completion of reclamation. Where possible, important ecological features will be retained in their natural state and features will be included to encourage recreation of habitat.

3. North and South Lantau coastal waters
[The marine park at Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau should be extended to cover the whole of South Lantau waters (see Figure 3). Sewage treatment facilities at Siu Ho Wan, Urmston Road and Pillar Point should be upgraded to at least secondary treatment in order to meet Water Quality Objectives and protect marine mammals. There should be no more reclamation of the natural coastline.]
  1. The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) is undertaking a study of the South West Lantau for suitability of designation as marine parks. The study will be completed by early 1999. The outcome of the study will provide useful input to our consideration of whether and how the marine park should be extended to cover the whole of South Lantau waters.

  2. Water quality within the Marine Park is constantly monitored by the AFD and is found to be good and in compliance with the Water Quality Objectives. To provide further protection to marine mammals, we have decided to upgrade the sewerage treatment plants in the vicinity of the marine park to provide chemically enhanced primary treatment with disinfection. This has been endorsed by ACE.

  3. There are no reclamation plans in South Lantau.
4. Tai O wetlands
[These should be designated as an SSSI u under an OZP or DPA plan. The extent of the SSSI should be subject to further study.]

The Tai O wetlands cover a very large area and the suitability of designation as an SSSI has to be further examined.

5. South Lantau coastline, including Shui Hau mudflats and Pui O wetlands
[All Government dumping in South Lantau should be stopped by effective contractual and legal enforcement. The Chief Executive should issue a directive to prepare a new DPA plan for South Lantau to enable effective enforcement of landuses in this area.]

  1. Following the recommendation of the Task Force for Fly-tipping Control, Works Bureau will soon introduce conditions in all Government works contracts to require that construction and demolition materials generated by the works projects must be directed to designated disposal facilities.

  2. The Mui Wo Fringe OZP was prepared in accordance with the Town Planning Ordinance (the Ordinance) and is an enforceable zoning plan, whereas, the South Lantau Coast OZP which covers the other parts of South Lantau has no enforcement power because it existed before the enactment of the Ordinance. According to the Ordinance, existing OZP cannot be replaced by a new DPA plan. The rationale is that enforcement in areas covered by OZPs existed before the enactment of the Ordinance has been and continues to be effected by other ordinances, such as the Government Land Ordinance, various health and hygiene ordinances and by-laws, e.g. Summary of Offences Ordinance and the Lease Conditions directly or indirectly. Although we cannot enforce control on development in South Lantau by the Town Planning Ordinance, we will continue to effect control by means of other relevant ordinances.
6. Proposed North Lantau Country Park extension, including Pok to Yan, Por Kai Shan, Wong Lung Hang and other forests currently outside country park controls
[The proposed North Lantau Country Park extension area should be implemented immediately before any further damage or encroachment can happen.]

It is our view that the area of the potential extension of the Lantau North Country Park is not under threat from developments. We have therefore allocated resources in 1998 to areas which are in greater need for protection, such as designating Lung Fu Shan as a country park and implementing the conservation projects in the Mai PO and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site. But the potential extension of the Lantau North Country Park remains on our agenda.

7. Tong Fuk and Luk Tei Tong Fung Shui woodland
[These areas should be zoned as a conservation area under an OZP or DPA plan]

This recommendation is supported, but details on the boundary have to be worked out.

8. Corridor between Tung Chung and Sham Wat
[The North Lantau Country Park should be extended to the coastline or designated as a Coastal Protection Area under a new OZP or DPA plan. The proposed highway between Tung Chung and Sham Wat should be blocked and any new development south of the airport should be prohibited on the grounds that it would be affected by unacceptably high noise levels from the new airport. There should be no further reclamation of this coastline.]

  1. The boundary of the potential extension of the Lantau North Country Park will cover some part of the coastline between Tung Chung and Sham Wat. However, the exact boundary will have to take into account the existence of villages and land status.

  2. The proposed road between Tung Chung and Sham Wat is still at it feasibility stage. Like all other proposed major road projects, this project if it is decided to go ahead will be subject to the EIA Ordinance to ensure that it will not incur irreversible impacts on the environment.

  3. New noise sensitive developments are already prohibited in areas within the NEF 25 contour of the Chak Lap Kok Airport.
9. Sunshine Island, Shek Kwu Chua, Hei Ling Chau, Soko Islands
[These islands should be designated as Coastal Protection Areas and Conservation Areas under new OZP or DPA plans.]

10. Tai Long Wan and Yi O
[These areas should be designated as Coastal Protection Areas under OZP or DPA plan.]

It is our intention to extend statutory plans to cover the entire territory based on priority which takes into consideration the local needs of each area and the available resources to best satisfy the community needs.

11. South Lantau waters
[The marine park should be extended to the south of Chi Ma Wan peninsula]

We will consider this after the completion of AFD's study mentioned in point 3 above.

12. Ngong Ping and Keung Shan
[These areas should be designated as conservation areas under OZP or DPA plans.]

These are enclaves in an existing country park. We are currently undertaking a study on enclaves in country parks and will review if Ngong Ping and Keung Shan could be assigned high priority for preparing statutory plans.

13. [Damaged habitats such as the wetlands at Tai O and Pui O should be enhanced.]

A mangrove replanting project at Tai O salt pans to compensate for the loss of mangrove/wetland habitats, including that at Tai O and Pui O, is in hand. The engineering works will commence in 2001.

14. [Fire breaks should be provided at all cemeteries and burial grounds on Lantau.]

Point 15. [Prevention of hillfires should be properly enforced at Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals.]

These points are supported. We have passed them on to relevant departments for necessary action.

16. [Proper funding should be provided to Agriculture & Fisheries Department and Planning Department to implement the above recommendations.]

We welcome your support for funding for these two departments.

(Kim Salkeld)
for Secretary for Planning,
Environment and Lands