LCQ4: Anderson Road Quarry


Following is a question on the Anderson Road Quarry by the Hon Bernard CHAN and a written reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday) :

Question :

(a) of the monthly output of the quarry in the past 12 months;

(b) whether the Government has made any environmental impact assessment on the operation of the quarry; if so, what the findings are;

(c) whether the Government has received any complaint about the appearance of the quarry or pollution arising from its operation; and

(d) whether the Government has any plan to close down the quarry and rehabilitate the hillsides; if not, why not?


Madam President,

I would like to respond first to part (d) of the Question on Government's plan concerning the Anderson Road Quarry (the Quarry).

The Quarry has been in operation since 1956. Under the old type of contract, the quarry operator(the Operator) was not required to rehabilitate the quarry during or after quarry operation, and a bare quarry face would remain at the end of the contract.

In 1989, Government's Metroplan Landscape Strategy for the Urban Fringe and Coastal Area identified the quarry site as an area of degraded landscape requiring rehabilitation. Government thus decided to close the Quarry and restore the bare quarry face through a new quarry rehabilitation contract under which the contractor/operator would have to finish off, rehabilitate and vegetate the quarry face to approved landforms and details, while processing and marketing the extracted quarry materials for the construction industry's use.

The Government's Development Progress Committee (now known as the Committee on Planning and Land Development), the former LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs, Sai Kung and Kwun Tong District Boards and concern groups were consulted extensively in the development of the rehabilitation scheme.

The new quarry rehabilitation contract was awarded in March 1997 under which the Operator, within the contract period of 17 years, is required to rehabilitate the quarry and to form a platform of 40 ha for future housing development. The Operator has to make payment to Government for the right to process and sell the quarry products.

The information sought under parts (a), (b) and (c) of the Question is given below :

(a) The monthly output from the quarry from September 1997 to August 1998 is about 0.23 million tonnes on average including aggregates and other rock/soil materials, as shown in the Annex. These materials are further processed and marketed as different quarry products including concrete, bitumen, aggregates, etc.

(b) In 1993, before the rehabilitation works commenced, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was carried out on the operation of the Quarry. The objective was to provide a detailed assessment of the likely environmental impacts arising from the quarrying/site formation works. The EIA identified there to be air quality, noise, water quality, blasting and solid waste impacts during quarrying and site formation operations, but concluded that, with suitable mitigation measures and good monitoring and audit programme implemented, such impacts could be controlled to within the established standards and guidelines. The EIA study was endorsed by the relevant district boards and Government departments. The Operator would implement mitigation measures and conduct regular environmental monitoring and audits to ensure that environmental standard and guidelines are complied with.

(c) On the appearance of the Quarry, an article entitled `Bite into Mountain' at Tai Sheung Tok appeared in South China Morning Post in June 1998. The so-called `bite area' is in fact being formed as part of the rehabilitation process. The steep slopes of the quarry will ultimately be flattened to their designed profile, and trees and vegetation will be planted on the formed surfaces. The process aims at improving the overall shape and appearance of Tai Sheung Tok to blend in with the surrounding natural environment. The landscaping and planting will be done progressively working down from the top of the quarry face. The first area to be planted will be completed around early 2000.

In the past two years, a total of 7 complaints had been received by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) on the pollution arising from the operation of the quarry. Only one of the above complaints was justifiable for further action under the pollution control ordinances, while the other complaints are unsubstantiated. That complaint was received in August 1998, concerning dust emission from a concrete batching plant in the quarry. The quarry operator had been asked to take practicable measures to minimise the dust emission. However, no further follow-up action was warranted as that concrete batching plant was later dismantled in mid-October 1998.

In the Sai Kung Provisional District Board (SKPDB) meeting on October 7,1998, members raised concerns on the environmental impacts of the quarry to residents at Tseng Lan Shue. The concerns included :

(i) the deposition of soil in stream course due to stormwater discharge from the quarry during heavy rain; and

(ii) the effect of shock vibration from blasting in the quarry.

Site inspection was carried out on the following day on October 10, 1998 with representatives from local residents, SKPDB, the Civil Engineering Department and the Operator. Various mitigation measures had been proposed, which included :

(i) construction of desilting traps to prevent excessive sedimentation due to stormwater discharge from the quarry site;

(ii) removal of sediment from the stream course; and

(iii) vibration monitoring at a detached house at Tseng Lan Shue to measure the effect of vibration due to blasting.

The measures were endorsed by the SKPDB representative. Of these, Item (i) has been completed and Item (ii) is in good progress. Item (iii) is an on-going exercise; so far, the results were found to be within the limits imposed by the Commissioner of Mines.

A review of the blasting method is being carried out by the Operator with a view to further minimise blast vibration.

End/Wednesday, November 4, 1998