Concept Plan for Lantau

 

Assessments

 

Sustainability Assessment

7.1    A preliminary sustainability assessment of the proposals in the Revised Concept Plan has been conducted. The assessment indicates that the proposals should contribute positively to the economic development of Hong Kong and reinforce its position as a regional tourism, transportation and logistics hub. In this context, Lantau will benefit from the creation of employment, investment and local business opportunities. Recreation-related initiatives will provide opportunities for more leisure, recreation and sports facilities and are thus conducive to the sustainability principle of enhancing cultural vibrancy and contributing towards social cohesion and family solidarity. The proposed conservation strategy will help protect the natural habitats, landscape, cultural heritage and the rich bio-diversity of the island.  

7.2    Implementation of the proposals will inevitably have environmental implications. The sustainability assessment has identified potential issues, such as air and noise pollution in both the construction and operation phases, impacts caused by proposed reclamations on water quality, impacts on biodiversity and natural resources, the capacity of transport infrastructure, possible development pressure in South Lantau, social impacts on the local community as well as the overall cumulative effects arising from the implementation of proposals under the Revised Concept Plan and other development projects under planning on Lantau. The sustainability assessment recommends that impacts of each individual projects should be studied in detail in further environmental impact assessments or environmental assessments, and that proposals should only be taken forward if the findings of these assessments confirm that the environmental impacts are acceptable. Suitable measures should be adopted to mitigate the possible impacts.  

7.3    Based on the recommendations of the sustainability assessment, the Government will take forward proposals under the Revised Concept Plan in phases. We will undertake for individual proposals detailed feasibility studies, including detailed sustainability assessments, environmental impact assessments and environmental assessments, and will develop measures to address any possible impacts and public concerns. At the implementation stage, due consideration will be given to the evaluation of alternatives, minimizing environmental and ecological impacts, optimizing the social, economic and environmental benefits and preserving the character of Lantau.

 

Environmental Implications -

Strategic Environmental Assessment

7.4    The HK2030 SEA has considered major infrastructure and development proposals for the whole territory, including those proposed for Lantau. The consultants have undertaken a broad-brush Environmental Appraisal (EA) of the Revised Concept Plan, as well as a general assessment of the cumulative impact of proposals under the Revised Concept Plan and other planned developments on and around Lantau.

7.5    The EA concludes that the Revised Concept Plan provides initiatives to further develop Lantau by enhancing and building upon the existing infrastructure, and offers opportunities for social progress and economic advancement. Areas of high conservation value in North Lantau have been avoided, with new developments focused in North Lantau. The Conservation Strategy, which is integral to the Revised Concept Plan, is a positive initiative to protect the valuable ecological and landscape resources in Lantau north and south. Nonetheless, proposals under the Revised Concept Plan have potential cumulative environmental implications, and it is not possible to state categorically that the development of these proposals and other proposed or planned developments on Lantau such as the HZMB, future development of the Hong Kong International Airport or growth of Tung Chung New Town will have no adverse environmental impact. Besides, there are air and noise issues to be considered in detail. The population for Lantau would be tripled, meaning that more people may be affected by the possible air and noise impacts. In consideration of this increase in population and the corresponding increase in traffic and transport needs, efforts should be made to adopt sustainable forms of transport and rail system as far as possible. Feasibility studies are required for the major development proposals to examine the appropriate phasing of the development concerned, and take account of environmental improvement and abatement strategies, such as the introduction of EURO IV emissions standards.

7.6    To minimize negative environmental effects on the natural and rural environment of Lantau, the EA recommends that the location of proposed development should avoid any infringement on environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas. For the large-scale infrastructure projects in North Lantau as well as the small-scale local works in rural Lantau, environmentally friendly measures should be adopted in the design and construction of the projects to minimize any possible adverse impact.

7.7    Where appropriate, further studies should be undertaken for individual proposals to confirm their environmental acceptability. In particular, any individual proposal or project which constitutes a Designated Project under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Ordinance must follow the statutory EIA processes and requirements under the EIA Ordinance, including obtaining an Environmental Permit for construction and operation of the project. The environmental impact of the project itself and the cumulative impact of any related projects must also be assessed. 

 

Social Implications

7.8    Meeting local aspirations and community needs was one of the major considerations in formulating the 2004 Concept Plan. The 2004 Concept Plan has been reviewed and revised taking into account public comments and suggestions. It is envisaged that the Revised Concept Plan will benefit the local community as well as the general public. 

7.9    Lantau has an existing population of about 106,000, of which about 80% and 15% live in Tung Chung and Discovery Bay respectively. The remaining 5% is accommodated in the rural township of Mui Wo and the village clusters of Tai O and South Lantau. Other than Tung Chung which has a planned population of up to 220,000, no other major residential development or population increases are envisaged in the Revised Concept Plan. As the Revised Concept Plan does not affect any existing residential development, no rehousing or resettlement is required. There will not be any major impact to the local community.

7.10    The objective of the major infrastructure, tourism and recreation proposals is to provide added impetus to Hong Kong’s economic development by substantially enhancing employment, investment and business opportunities on Lantau. Green tourism initiatives, cycle track and local improvement works will help to provide local employment opportunities, boost the local economy and add vibrancy of the rural townships and villages. The proposed area improvement works will also help to provide an improved community environment for the local population.

7.11    With careful selection of sites, sensitive design and proper management, the proposed nature- and heritage-related initiatives should not result in any significant adverse impact on the valuable natural and heritage assets of the area. Rather, they should help to sustain the cultural attributes and local character of the areas concerned, and enhance the social coherence of the community. Moreover, the proposed countryside recreational facilities and green tourism initiatives should provide a greater choice of leisure, recreation and sports facilities for enjoyment by the locals, general public and tourists.

7.12    To ensure that the Revised Concept Plan proposals meet local aspirations and expectations, the Government will maintain continuous dialogue with the locals.

 

Transport Implications

7.13    Strategic road links connecting North Lantau to the NWNT and the main urban areas are being studied with a view to meeting increasing traffic demand (Plan 7.1). According to the NWNT TIR, it is envisaged that the Base Network (i.e. the existing roads plus the committed highways, including the HZMB and NLH Connection) in NWNT will operate within manageable levels until 2016. Additional traffic generated from the Revised Concept Plan proposals and other planned developments, including the remaining development of the North Lantau New Town and expansion of airport facilities, in the short and medium-term could be duly catered for. However, further traffic impact assessments should be carried out for those major development proposals to assess their traffic impacts.

7.14    To accommodate long-term traffic demand, possible packages of highway projects have been identified in the NWNT TIR (Plan 7.1). They include: (1) Lantau Road P1, Tsing Yi - Lantau Link (TYLL) and Pa Tau Kwu Section of the Chok Ko Wan Link Road; (2) Tsing Lung Bridge (TLB) and a connecting road between TLB and TYLL; (3) Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok Link; and (4) Link Options between Tuen Mun and Lantau. In total, these projects represent the maximal network now identified for North Lantau. In the light of the NWNT TIR, TD has drawn up the relative priorities for the necessary highway infrastructure to meet the traffic needs of NWNT and North Lantau. However, as planning of certain major developments in the region is still underway, TD will continue to closely monitor the pace of such developments and make corresponding adjustments to the implementation and relative priorities of the highway projects.    

External and Internal Transport Network

 

7.15    Under the Revised Concept Plan, major economic and tourism infrastructures that will generate most external traffic are planned in North Lantau. Prior to implementation of the proposals, further traffic impact assessments will be carried out.

7.16    Internal transport between North and South Lantau is constrained by local topography and environmental factors. The only road connecting north and south Lantau is Tung Chung Road. The main road link for South Lantau is South Lantau Road, which traverses the south coast from east to west (Plan 7.1). Both are ‘closed roads’, with road permit systems governing the use of the roads. Tung Chung Road will be widened to a standard single two-lane road. The improvement works are scheduled for substantial completion in 2008. With the completion of the improvement of Tung Chung Road, the safety of this north-south access of Lantau will be enhanced.

7.17    In planning for South Lantau, we have given due consideration to the conservation and recreational value of South Lantau and the capacity constraint of the road system in this area. Therefore only relatively small-scale recreational enhancements are proposed in the area, the transport implications of which should not be excessive. There will be some increase in the population and visitation figures, which can generally be catered for by the widened Tung Chung Road, minor improvements to South Lantau Road and Keung Shan Road and public transport services. Subject to further studies, a jetty could also be provided at Cheung Sha to cater for private leisure boats and island hopping activities (Plan 7.1). This would help bring more visitors to South Lantau and Tai O.

 

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