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LCQ17: Green Belt

     Following is a question by the Hon Alice Mak and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (June 26):


     It has been reported that illegal occupation or fly-tipping (such as old tyres) occurred in a number of sites zoned as "Green Belt". On the other hand, the Chief Executive has indicated in the 2013 Policy Address that the Government is conducting a study on rezoning 13 sites in Green Belt areas which are currently devegetated, deserted or formed for residential use so as to increase the supply of residential units. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of (i) the number of inspections conducted proactively by the Lands Department (set out in Table 1), (ii) the number of inspections conducted upon receipt of complaints (set out in Table 2), and (iii) the number of law enforcement actions taken upon detection of illegal occupation/fly-tipping and the area of land involved (set out in Table 3), in respect of Green Belt areas in each of the past three years, broken down by District Council district;

(b) of the five most common situations of illegal occupation of Green Belt areas, as well as the number of such cases in which the persons concerned were convicted and the penalties imposed on them in the past three years;

(c) whether the aforesaid 13 sites were involved in any illegal occupation/fly-tipping in the past three years; if so, of the site area involved; and

(d) whether the Government will announce within this year the details of the development plans for rezoning the aforesaid 13 sites for residential use, including the site area and location, etc. of each site; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The 2013 Policy Address has put forward 10 measures to increase housing land supply in the short to medium-term, one of which is to rezone 13 devegetated, deserted or formed Green Belt (GB) sites to residential use, as recommended in the Planning Department's (PlanD) Stage 1 GB Review. The relevant rezoning work is commencing progressively. The Stage 2 GB Review is also underway with a view to identifying more sites with potential for residential development to meet the housing needs of the general public.

     My reply to the question raised by the Honourable Alice Mak is as follows:

(a) and (b) The Lands Department (LandsD) is responsible for dealing with cases of unlawful occupation of government land.  Such work is undertaken by its 12 District Lands Offices (DLOs) according to their district demarcations instead of the zoning (e.g. GB areas) on the statutory plans. Therefore, LandsD does not maintain a statistical breakdown of its enforcement actions by land use zones. Generally speaking, common cases of unlawful occupation of government land include erection of unauthorised structures on land, and occupation of land for unauthorised uses (such as garden or open storage area, etc.). The DLOs will patrol the black spots in their districts on a regular basis, and in response to complaints and case referrals, take appropriate follow-up actions accordingly, including removal of structures and articles on the occupied land. LandsD will also seek legal advice and institute prosecution as appropriate.  Over the past three years (i.e. 2010, 2011 and 2012), LandsD respectively handled 7 022, 6 909 and 8 154 clearance cases of unlawful occupation of government land, and there were respectively five, two and 19 convictions for unlawful occupation of government land under section 6(4) of the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 28). In two of such convictions, the maximum fine of $10,000 was imposed.  Moreover, if any illegal waste dumping activity is spotted or reported, the Environmental Protection Department will take enforcement action under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354).

(c) As mentioned above, LandsD does not maintain a statistical breakdown of its enforcement actions by land use zones.  According to the information of PlanD, the 13 GB sites recommended for rezoning in the Stage 1 GB Review were not involved in any unauthorised development in contravention of the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap 131) in the past three years.

(d) In PlanD's Stage 1 GB Review, 13 GB sites which are devegetated, deserted or formed are recommended for rezoning for residential use. These sites, located in Tai Po, Shatin, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Sai Kung districts, have a total area of about 57 hectares and are estimated to provide about 23 000 flats.

    PlanD has progressively commenced the rezoning work for these GB sites. Rezoning of one of the sites located at the junction of Clear Water Bay Road and Pik Sha Road for residential use has already been gazetted on May 10, 2013.  As for the remaining 12 sites, it is estimated that the rezoning procedures for nine of them will be completed by late 2014, and the rezoning of the other three sites will be completed as soon as possible afterwards. Since some of the sites require further studies or technical assessments, the details of the sites will be released upon commencement of their rezoning procedures.  According to the established practice, the public will be invited to submit their representations and comments during the statutory exhibition period under the statutory planning procedures, and PlanD will consult the relevant District Councils on the rezoning proposals for individual sites.

Ends/Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:31


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