The Government has been successful in pre-empting environmental problems by
applying an environmental assessment process to policy planning and project
proposals. Development and policy proposals submitted to the Executive Council that
involve environmental issues and all submissions to the Public Works Subcommittee
of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee must contain an assessment of the
Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance provides a transparent and
systematic framework for assessing the environmental impact of designated projects
and for identifying effective mitigating measures if needed. It is supplemented by a
technical memorandum setting out clear and consistent technical guidelines and
criteria. Since the implementation of the ordinance, 103 environmental impact
assessment (EIA) reports have been approved (as at December 31) and more than 1.5
million people and many ecologically sensitive areas are being protected against the
effects of unacceptable environmental problems. In addition, the EPD has been
promoting continuous public participation in the EIA process.
Environmental Monitoring and Auditing
The environmental monitoring and auditing process seeks to validate the
assumptions made in the planning stage and to monitor the effectiveness of
mitigation measures and to ensure that every project meets the environmental
performance promised in the impact assessments. In 2006, the EPD managed about
110 monitoring and auditing programmes for major projects.
For major projects, permit holders are required to set up dedicated websites to
publish project information, including the results and data obtained from the
environmental monitoring and auditing process. Since April 2002, proponents of
major projects have been required to set up web camera systems to enable the public
to see conditions at their sites.
Land Use Planning
For major land use planning studies, a Strategic Environmental Assessment is
required to incorporate environmental considerations into the formulation of land use
plans. Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, an EIA must be
carried out as part of the engineering feasibility study of urban development or
redevelopment projects with a study area of more than 20 hectares or involving a
population of more than 100 000 people. These environmental assessments form an
integral part of the planning studies and help identify major environmental issues and
possible mitigation measures for inclusion in the land use plans.
Environmental Management and Sustainability
The new review of the Territorial Development Strategy entitled — Hong Kong
2030: Planning Vision and Strategy, which began in September 2000, contains a
strategic environmental assessment study which addresses long-term environmental
sustainability issues. Public engagement took place throughout the study process.
The Government promotes environmental management in both the public and
private sectors, through the Green Manager Scheme, environmental auditing,
environmental management systems (EMS) and environmental performance
reporting. All bureaux and departments have appointed Green Managers, most have
regular environmental audit programmes and some hold ISO 14001 standard
certificates. All bureaux and departments publish annual reports of their
environmental performance. Starting from 2007, all annual environmental
performance reports will incorporate, where appropriate, the principles of the 'Clean
Air Charter' which the Government supports to improve Hong Kong's air quality.
To provide continuing support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to
carry out their EMS programmes, the EPD has produced user-friendly ISO 14001 EMS
support packages for the construction and electrical/electronic sectors to follow.
These packages were updated in November 2005.
The Government is committed to improving the quality of life in rural areas and
to ending or removing land uses that downgrades the rural environment. The
facilities for sewage disposal in the rural areas of the New Territories are also better
than before and are still being improved. In 2006, the Government earmarked an
additional $2.1 billion to enable the connection of the domestic discharges from a
further 245 000 people living in 383 villages and other unsewered areas to public