Hong Kong 2003
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Land, Public Works and Utilities
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Land Control and Estate Management

The Task Force (Black Spots) (TFB) was set up in 1994 to clean up environmental 'black spots' that arose in the 1980s as a result of the massive conversion of agricultural land into open storage sites, container depots and vehicle parking/repairing sites in the New Territories. During the year, 286 sites covering 28.09 hectares were improved, making a cumulative total of 2 309 sites comprising 275.40 hectares of land.

The TFB provided support in the identification of suitable new sites for uses relating to container freight/open storage activities and during the year disposed of two sites by way of public tender. It also promoted improvements to the infrastructure in areas zoned for open storage related uses and coordinated government departmental action in the prevention and control of illegal dumping of waste.

The Property Management Unit manages properties that are resumed, surrendered or lease-expired. During the year, nine properties were taken over for management, making a cumulative total of 462. Thirteen properties were sold and 19 let on a short-term basis.

Important advances continue to be made in the area of slope safety maintenance. Identification of the parties responsible for maintenance of registered man-made slopes is an ongoing exercise that is associated with the slope registration system operated by the Geotechnical Engineering Office of the Civil Engineering Department. The public can use the Internet (at the Lands Department's website) to identify the parties responsible for the maintenance of registered man-made slopes. The Slope Maintenance Responsibility Information System on the Internet has been enhanced with an option to display information in simplified Chinese characters in addition to traditional Chinese characters and English.

The Lands Department is responsible for maintaining about 16 900 registered man-made slopes on government land that are not allocated to other maintenance departments. The department's Slope Maintenance Section, with the assistance of private consultants, carries out regular inspections of these slopes and employs contractors to undertake routine maintenance works and, where required, stabilisation works. The works are prioritised according to the level of risk posed to life and property in the event of landslides. During the year, routine works were carried out on 3 400 slopes and stabilisation works on 116 slopes.

In order to improve the environment and the state of housing in New Territories villages, District Lands Offices grant indigenous villagers permission to build small houses and approve the rebuilding of old village houses. They also issue short-term tenancies or short-term waivers and government land licences for rebuilding temporary domestic structures.

In control and enforcement, the Lands Department implements measures to prevent illegal use of unallocated government land, such as unauthorised occupation, dumping, excavation, cultivation or trespassing. Apart from taking preventive measures, such as fencing-off of vacant government land or deploying security guards at 'black spots', the District Lands Offices take enforcement action against offenders under the Land (Miscellaneous Provision) Ordinance and the Summary Offences Ordinance. Clearance action to maintain and improve the environment of government land is also taken regularly.

A scheme to better manage the display of non-commercial publicity materials at roadsides was implemented jointly by the Lands Department and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in April. The objective is to provide an efficient arrangements for display of such materials without compromising traffic safety or the streetscape. At year-end, 21 215 designated spots for displaying banners in public places were under the administrative aegis of the Lands Department.

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