Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 14:
The Environment
Administrative Framework
Pollution Prevention
Cross-boundary Cooperation
Legislation and Pollution Control
Air Pollution
Indoor Air Quality
Water Quality and Sewerage
Waste Management
Government Laboratory
Terrestrial Fauna
Marine Fauna
Legislation and Nature Conservation
Protected Areas
Topography and Geology
Hydrography and Oceanography
Meteorological Services
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Road Traffic Noise

Under the existing policy, when planning new roads, the project proponent must ensure that traffic noise will stay below the established noise limits. If traffic noise is expected to exceed the limits, the project proponent must adopt all practicable direct measures to correct the situation, and where direct measures are inadequate, indirect noise-reducing measures must be used.

To address the noise impact, a programme to retrofit roads with noise barriers is being carried out in phases as resources become available. In addition, some 70 local roads have been identified as possible targets for resurfacing with low-noise material. The resurfacing programme is in progress and will benefit about 40 000 residential units upon completion. At the same time, all high-speed (70 kilometres per hour or above) roads were resurfaced with low-noise material wherever it was technically feasible.

To ensure that individual vehicles do not produce excessive noise, the Government tightened legislation in 2002 to require all newly registered vehicles to comply with the latest internationally recognised noise standards.

Railway Noise

Various noise reduction programmes have been implemented by railway operators since the early 1990s to address noise problems along existing railways. So far, noise mitigation projects have brought relief to some 110 000 residents affected by train noise. New railway projects are required to undergo environmental impact assessments to ensure that the noise impact is properly addressed.

Aircraft Noise

The impact of aircraft noise on almost all residents in the vicinity of Hong Kong International Airport flight paths is within the planning standard. However, there is still concern about the aircraft noise nuisance, especially during evenings and early mornings. The Government is mindful of the concern and will continue exploring and implementing all practicable aircraft noise mitigating measures, details of which are given in Chapter 13 (Transport: section on Aircraft Noise Management).

Noise from Industrial or Commercial Activities

Noise from industrial or commercial activities is controlled by means of noise abatement notices. The EPD serves abatement notices requiring the owners/occupants of premises emitting excessive noise to reduce it within a given period. In 2006, the department handled about 3 400 complaints and served some 80 abatement notices, which led to some 30 prosecutions.

Construction Noise

Noise from general construction works between 7pm and 7am and on public holidays is controlled through construction noise permits. The permits restrict the use of equipment in accordance with strict criteria and ban noisy manual activities in built-up areas. Percussive piling is prohibited at night and on public holidays and requires a permit during the daytime on any day that is not a public holiday. In 2006, some 2 500 permits for general construction work and percussive piling were issued. There were about 50 prosecutions for working without permits or violating permit conditions.

The Government has phased out the use of noisy diesel, steam and pneumatic piling hammers. The law also requires hand-held percussive breakers and air compressors for construction to meet strict noise standards and to have 'green' noise emission labels before use. In 2006, about 500 labels were issued.

To deter repeated industrial/commercial and construction noise offences, the Noise Control Ordinance stipulates that the senior management of a body corporate will be held liable for repeated offences committed by their body corporate.

The EPD also introduced a new Quality Powered Mechanical Equipment system to promote the use of more environmentally friendly construction equipment and to facilitate the construction noise permit application process.

Intruder Alarm and Neighbourhood Noise

The Police Force handles complaints about intruder alarms and neighbourhood noise from domestic premises and public places. In 2006, the police dealt with some 3 000 complaints.

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