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CE pledges to develop a quality city with quality life: Policy Address

   The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, has today (October 10) in his annual Policy Address pledged that Hong Kong will develop as a quality city with quality life.    

    He advocated the concept of 'progressive development' to help Hong Kong grow as a quality global metropolis.

    "By 'progressive development', I mean overall progress rather than economic development alone," Mr Tsang told the Legislative Council when delivering the first Policy Address of the Third Term Government.

    "Apart from the economic benefits, we should strive for benefits to culture, the society and the environment."

    The Chief Executive unveiled initiatives to combat global warming, improve the living environment, build a greener city, protect heritage and ensure food safety.  

    Mr Tsang said Hong Kong would honour its pledge at the recent APEC Economic Leaders' Summit to seek to reduce energy intensity by at least 25 per cent by 2030 (with 2005 as the base year).

    He said the public would be consulted on proposed mandatory Building Energy Codes and that legislative work on the first phase of the Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme would be finished next year.

    He said the Government would lead by example by conducting a Carbon Audit and implementing an emissions reduction campaign in the new Central Government Complex at Tamar.

    "I believe that the business sector will respond positively by implementing measures in suitable commercial buildings for this campaign," he said.

    Mr Tsang said the Government aimed to put in place by the end of the year a new regulatory regime that would link the power companies permitted rate of return to their achievement of emission caps.

    He said, subject to public consultation, the Government would require motorists to switch off idling engines.

    The Government would also propose legislation to require all industrial and commercial processes to use ultra low sulphur diesel. Requiring all vessels plying the harbour to use high-quality fuel, and road pricing using new high technology were two other measures that would be examined, to combat air pollution.

    Mr Tsang also announced a new $93 million programme to help Hong Kong-owned factories in the Pan-Pearl River Delta region adopt clean production technologies and processes.

    To further green the city, Hong Kong's 24th country park would be designated on Northern Lantau, while Greening Master Plans would be implemented on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon.

    The development density in some districts will also be lowered to improve ventilation and address concerns about the 'wall affect' of some high rise buildings.

    To enhance environmental protection, the Chief Executive proposed injecting an additional $1 billion into the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) for educational, research and technology demonstration projects.

    Mr Tsang said developing a quality city life also involved protecting Hong Kong's culture and history.

    "A progressive city treasures its own culture and history along with a living experience unique to the city. In the next five years, I will press ahead with our work on heritage conservation," he said

    He also announced the setting up of a Commissioner for Heritage Office in the Development Bureau to provide a focal point for public participation and the Government's heritage conservation work.

    "This shows that heritage conservation will be a long-term commitment of the Government," Mr Tsang said.

    All public works projects involving historic and built heritage would be required to undergo heritage impact assessment in the project planning stage.

    Mr Tsang also earmarked $1 billion for the revitalisation of old buildings as part of a strategy to not only conserve the city's heritage but also encourage the continued use of old buildings in city life.

    "As a start, six to eight buildings will be offered under the scheme. We hope they can be transformed creatively into unique cultural landmarks," he said.

    Mr Tsang announced that the Government had accepted a $1.8 billion proposal from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to revitalise the Central Police Station Compound.

    Other locations under the Government's revitalisation scheme include the original site of the Central School and the open-air bazaar in Wan Chai.

    In relation to privately-owned historic buildings, Mr Tsang said the Government would explore new arrangements to provide economic incentives for private owners to encourage heritage protection by the private sector.

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:37


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