Published: 13:09, May 20, 2024 | Updated: 16:43, May 20, 2024
EPD defends approval of San Tin tech hub eco impact report
By Wang Zhan
Located at the heart of Northern Metropolis and in close proximity to Shenzhen’s I&T zone in Huanggang and Futian, San Tin Technopole is strategically positioned to be a hub for clustered I&T development that creates synergy with Shenzhen I&T Zone. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – The Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong stressed on Sunday that the process leading to the conditional approval of Environmental Impact Assessment report on the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node project was scientific and comprehensive.

In a statement, the EPD said the process was open and transparent and met all the statutory standards and requirements laid out by the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance and its technical memorandum to ensure the project does not cause any major ecological impact.    

The EIA report recommended designating a non-building area and stringent building height restrictions for the preservation of a 300-metre-wide east-west birds' flight corridor and a 70m-wide bird flight path for the Mai Po Lung Village Egretry, the EPD said

“The EIA process is scientific, professional and comprehensive. The EPD has fully considered comments received during the public inspection of the EIA report and consulted relevant authorities in accordance with the TM,” the department said.

It added that the Advisory Council on the Environment also unanimously approved the EIA report and its recommendations.

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The department issued the statement after environmental groups criticized its conditional approval of the assessment report on Friday.

The EPD said the EIA report had prioritized the avoidance of major environmental impacts, such as avoiding the Ramsar Site and the preservation of the core area of the Mai Po Lung Village Egretry and the Mai Po Village Egretry, and the mature woodland habitat at Pang Loon Tei.

It said a 12-month ecological baseline survey was conducted under the EIA study, which included surveys on flight paths above egretries and night roosts, and the report also considered indirect impacts on the egrets and herons due to loss of foraging grounds or disturbance.

The EIA report recommended designating a non-building area and stringent building height restrictions for the preservation of a 300-metre-wide east-west birds' flight corridor and a 70m-wide bird flight path for the Mai Po Lung Village Egretry, the EPD said.    

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Enhancement measures that are conducive to otters' activities were also proposed, including establishing 10m-wide above ground wildlife corridors with a water environment and an underground wildlife corridors with cross-sectional area of not less than six square meters with natural lighting, it added.

The EPD said the report made reference to the actual experience of the Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line construction works, and proposed enhancing the ecological function and capacity of the fish pond wetlands.

It also devised mitigation measures for potential ecological impacts during the construction period, including installing noise barriers at the boundaries of the construction area and carrying out construction in phases outside the period of arrival of migratory birds, the department added.