Third Runway Impedes Future Developments in Lantau Island

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(10th July 2014 Press Release)

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Three-Runway System was published last month. After careful study FoE(HK) finds that Lantau Island’s air pollution bearing capacity will reach the threshold level on the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emission in Year 2031 and any future development will definitely increase the NO2 emission and lead to non-compliance with the statutory Air Quality Objectives (AQO).

 

We earnestly request the Environment Bureau, Development Bureau, and Transport and Housing Bureau to coordinate and to ensure that future development is sustainable. FoE(HK) has raised various concerns regarding this EIA report. Mott Mcdonald, the consulting firm has reflected a very optimistic prediction regarding the impacts of the third runway. The truth however, is more complicated. We urge the Environmental Bureau to disclose further information and data regarding this project.

 

Third Runway’s NO2Concentration Has Met Its Threshold

The NO2 level projected by the consultant in various Air Sensitive Receivers (ASRs) is barely compliant with the current AQO. In case of failure in the achievement of the emission reduction target by the HK SAR Government, the NO2 concentration may exceed the AQO limits. In such a situation, Lantau Inland’s air pollution will reach its tipping point. Under the current AQO statutory requirements, there is no capacity for any large scale development before Year 2031.

 

Predicted annual average NO2 concentration at representative ASRs (Year 2031/AQO limit: 40ug/m3)

Location

ASR ID

Annual NO2 Concentration (µg/m3)

HKBCF

BCF -1

39 µg/m3

Tung Chung

TC-17

31 µg/m3

Tung Chung

TC-18

31 µg/m3

Tung Chung

TC-19

32 µg/m3

Tung Chung

TC-22

33 µg/m3

Sha Lo Wan

SLW-1

36 µg/m3

Sha Lo Wan

SLW-2

33 µg/m3

Sha Lo Wan

SLW-3

30 µg/m3

Sha Lo Wan

SLW-4

31 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-7

34 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-8

37 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-9

38 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-10

38 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-12

38 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-16

37 µg/m3

Tuen Mun

TM-17

37 µg/m3

(Source: Three-Runway System EIA report)

 

Coordination of Bureaus to Prioritize Future Developments Is Needed

Lantau Island is considered as the focal point for future developments. The government plans to further carry out reclamation works and develop an artificial island to house a total of 1 million people in Lantua Island. Under current bearing capacity, there is a high chance that it will be unable to accommodate the added burden, and the air pollution induced will impose serious threats to public health, especially children. Therefore, government bureaus must coordinate in advance in accordance to the AQO limits for future development. Otherwise, if a project is halted during the EIA stage, it will turn out to be very costly and wasteful of resources. FoE(HK) requests the Development Bureau, and the Transport and Housing Bureau which is responsible for the third runway project, to reinvestigate the AQO’s statutory requirements, coordinate to reprioritize various development projects, and decide whether the third runway project should be given the first priority under the air pollutant emission constraints.

 

Third Runway Project Underestimates Air Pollution Impact

  •  EIA report estimates the population in the northern part of Lantau Island is within 300,000 people, and thereby calculates the related impact of air pollution. However, from the beginning of 2014, the Development Bureau has repeatedly revealed its idea of developing an artificial island. It will be completed within 10 years, and will accommodate 700,000 people. The resultant increase in traffic and infrastructure will affect the air quality in northern Lantau Island, especially on the NOx emssion. The EIA report needs to be re-evaluated and edited according to the latest information of all upcoming projects.

  •  The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) and the third runway have used the same set air modeling tools to project the air pollutant emission in Year 2031. The results however are quite different. The projected NO2 emission of the HZMB project will exceed the current AQO limit at some ASRs (ranging from 40µg/m3 to 54µg/m3). According to the report, however the projected NO2 emission in the Three-Runway System EIA report will be compliant with the AQO limit of 40µg/m3 in Year 2031, which the cumulative impact of the HZMB project is included. This is because the two projects have used different sets of assumptions—the third runway EIA applied various optimistic assumptions leading to an underestimated projection in the NO2 emission. If this is adopted as a common practice, the AQO will become redundant with no compliance from stakeholders. The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499) will no longer remain enforceable. FoE(HK) requests the EIA report be re-conducted to include different scenarios, and implement mitigation measures accordingly. Otherwise, it risks the health of general public especially those in Tung Chung and Tuen Mun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Lantau Island's air pollution bearing capacity will reach the threshold level. Is the future development sustainable?

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