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Government committed to sustainable development strategies

The Government was committed to formulating sustainable development strategies by guiding the use and development of land, facilitating suitable development and redevelopment, and encouraging community involvement and support, Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, said today (September 27) at the 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference in Tokyo.

Speaking before the Hong Kong team's presentation on sustainable buildings in the territory at the conference, Mr Suen said that given Hong Kong's natural constraints, including the lack of land for development, there was a natural tendency for high-rise development.

This made sustainable development and sustainable buildings logical objectives to keep the city going and to achieve better quality living environment, he said.

To realise the sustainable strategies, Mr Suen said that for public facility developments, the Government had taken a holistic approach in considering the integration of the projects with the surrounding environment, and the conservation and efficient use of land, energy and material resources in design, procurement and maintenance.  

"Our policy on public housing also clearly defines key environmental principles such as optimising use of resources and minimising the environmental impact for our residents. We provide affordable quality public housing for one third of our population. To keep pace with the rising aspirations of the community, we have successfully advanced new frontiers in the making of a green physical environment and green community for millions of people."

As for private building developments, the Government encouraged innovation and adoption of new technology and construction methods, Mr Suen said. "To quote a couple of our initiatives, we provide incentives in the form of exemption of gross floor area and site coverage for the incorporation of environmentally friendly features in private building developments. We are also developing a building labelling scheme to gauge the sustainability performance of buildings in Hong Kong."

"Our road towards sustainable buildings is made more durable with close collaboration at all levels between the Government and private sector.  With this collaborative spirit in striving towards a sustainable built environment, we hope to build a better future for the generations to come," he said.

Mr Suen is leading a Hong Kong delegation of practitioners from the construction industry, developers, professionals, contractors, academics and government officials to the 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference between September 27 and 29. The conference provides a platform for sustainable building advocates from all over the world to discuss and share experience on sustainable building policies and strategies as well as construction practices, advanced technologies, and assessment schemes.

Government departments and non-government organisations from Hong Kong made presentations today on several green building projects, including the Two International Finance Centre project, the commercial development at Number One, Peking Road, and the redevelopment of Upper Ngau Tau Kok public housing estate Phases 2 and 3 as well as the Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme.

At the conference, there is also an exhibition booth showcasing both the Government and private initiatives in sustainable construction and building in Hong Kong by showing various government and private buildings which incorporate sustainability as the core objective of building development.

Mr Suen this morning toured the Roppongi Hills - the largest private sector funded urban redevelopment project in Japan on a site encompassing some 11.6 hectares.

Mr Suen has also called on the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to exchange views on achieving a sustainable built environment.

Mr Suen will return to Hong Kong tomorrow (September 28).

Ends/Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Issued at HKT 18:42


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