Date
18 December 2017
An environment advisory panel has cleared Hong Kong's new airport runway plan, subject to some conditions. Photo: Bloomberg
An environment advisory panel has cleared Hong Kong's new airport runway plan, subject to some conditions. Photo: Bloomberg

HK airport runway gets conditional nod from environment panel

Hong Kong government’s Advisory Council on the Environment on Monday passed the environment assessment report on the planned third runway at the Hong Kong International Airport, ending years-long discussions that involved five panel meetings, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.

However, the Airport Authority (AA) has to meet a total of twenty conditions and four suggestions made by the council, as well as submit detailed information regarding measures for nature preservation, before construction can officially begin, council chairman Lam Kwan-sing said.

The passage was not a unanimous decision but most members agreed on clearing the proposal if the conditions can be met, he said.

Some members felt a HK$150 million (US$19.4 million) fund set up by AA for marine ecology conservation was too little, while some asked AA to submit more details to prove the fund will be operated independently and that it will be used to improve the environment and protect Chinese white dolphins.

According to Lam, the government is required to promise building a marine park as wide as 2,400 hectares in northern Lantau and make sure the size of the marine ecology conservation fund would be sustainable. If the need arises, the fund size may need to be raised.

The director of Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department will decide by the end of October whether to issue a permit to allow construction of the new runway.

Ng Chi-kee, acting chief executive of AA, was quoted as saying that it was good to see the council pass the assessment report. The runway will set a new milestone, he said.

The official is confident that the report will not be challenged by others through judicial review as it completely follows requirements stipulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance.

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