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LCQ15: Green belts and the periphery of country parks
     Following is a question by the Hon Stanley Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Ms Bernadette Linn, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):
     Regarding "Green Belt" (GB) sites and land on the periphery of country parks, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the total area of GB sites in each District Council (DC) district and its year-on-year change, in each of the past five years; 

(2) of the area of GB sites rezoned for other uses in the past five years, with a breakdown by land use; the number of units that can be provided on those sites that were rezoned for residential use, with a breakdown by type of housing (i.e. public rental housing, subsidised sale housing and private housing); 

(3) as the Chief Executive has indicated in the 2022 Policy Address that feasibility studies will be conducted for about 255 hectares of GB sites identified for housing development in the new round of GB review, of the number of sites concerned and the area involved, with a breakdown by DC district; 

(4) given that in the past, some members of the community objected to the rezoning of GB sites for other uses, whether the authorities, when reviewing the land uses, have put in place measures to ensure that the views of community stakeholders have been properly collected and that the rezoning of GB sites and the relevant development planning will not cause unacceptable impacts on the districts concerned; if so, of the details (including the assessment mechanism and the criteria adopted); and 

(5) given that there are divergent views in the community on the ecological value of GB sites and land on the periphery of country parks, whether the relevant government departments, such as the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Planning Department, will work together to study in detail the ecological value of such sites and review the coverage and boundary of country parks, so as to release lands which are of low ecological value but are suitable for development; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that? 

(1) The areas zoned "Green Belt" (GB) in the outline zoning plans (OZPs) of various districts in end-2021, broken down by District Council (DC) district, are as follows:
District Areas zoned GB in OZPs in end-2021
Central and Western 244
Wan Chai 252
Eastern 325
Southern 985
Kowloon City 47
Kwun Tong 153
Sham Shui Po 111
Yau Tsim Mong 2
Wong Tai Sin 200
Kwai Tsing 682
Tsuen Wan 1 239
Islands 2 610
North 3 036
Sai Kung 1 319
Sha Tin 1 332
Tai Po 1 836
Tuen Mun 1 176
Yuen Long 1 235
Total 16 784
     The above represents an increase of 441 ha as compared to the 16 343 ha in end-2017. Such increase mainly comes from five OZPs (Siu Ho Wan, Mui Wo North, Pui O Au, Sha Lo Wan and San Tau and Sham Wat and San Shek Wan) published in gazette during the period from 2018 to 2021. As it takes time to retrieve the historical figures of each district, such figures are not shown in the above table.
 (2) A breakdown of the area of GB rezoned for other uses in the past five years (i.e. 2017 to 2021) is as follows:
Land use after rezoning Area (ha) (approximate)
Residential 86.5
Government, Institution or Community 36.8
Road 27.1
Other Specified Uses (Note) 18.6
Open Space 15.0
Industrial 10.3
Commercial 7.1
Open Storage 1.6
Village Type Development 0.6
Total 203.6
Note: Including "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Sewage Treatment Works", "Sewage Pumping Station", "District Cooling System", "Port Back-up, Storage and Workshop Uses", "Storage and Workshop Uses", "Logistics Facility", "Enterprise and Technology Park", "Parking and Operational Facilities for Environmentally Friendly Transport Services", "Electricity Substation", "Columbarium and Garden of Remembrance", "Columbarium" and "Cemetery".
     Of the GB area to be rezoned to "residential" (some are situated in new development areas), it is expected that approximately 93 200 public housing and 9 200 private housing units can be provided.

 (3) As announced in the Chief Executive's Policy Address this year, in the new round of GB study, the Government has shortlisted about 255 ha of area zoned GB with potential for housing development, which can provide approximately 70 000 units. The rezoning of the first batch will commence by 2024. The GB areas with development potential involve eight land parcels, and their locations and areas are as follows:
Potential GB land parcels Area (ha) DC district
1. Ha Tsuen Fringe 12.3 Yuen Long
2. Wang Chau 12.1 Yuen Long
3. Fu Yung Shan 5.5 Tsuen Wan
4. Near Ng Tung River 9.6 North District
5. Near Queen’s Hill 31.4 North District
6. South of Ki Lun Shan 49 Yuen Long
7. Ngau Tam Mei 27.3 Yuen Long
8. Tuen Mun East 107.3 Tuen Mun
  Total About 255
(4) The relevant departments will make rezoning proposals of GB areas according to the established mechanism and criteria. They will consider in detail the specific condition of each area and conduct relevant technical assessments to ensure that the development is compatible with the land use of the neighbouring areas and will not bring adverse impacts in respect of environment, traffic, landscape and air ventilation.
     Amendments to the relevant OZPs will be exhibited in accordance with the Town Planning Ordinance, and the public may express their views to the Town Planning Board (TPB) according to the relevant statutory procedures. In addition, before commencement of the statutory procedures, the relevant departments will conduct district consultations regarding the rezoning proposals in a timely manner, including consulting the district councils and rural committees concerned and relaying the views collected to the TPB.

(5) Of the approximately 16 000 ha of land zoned GB in Hong Kong, over half are subject to clear development constraints and 1 200 ha have been included in various development projects. Having shortlisted about 255 ha of GB areas in the new round of study, the Planning Department will complete the review of the development potential of all the remaining GB areas next year. In assessing the development potential of individual sites, factors such as site condition, ecology, landscape, infrastructural capacity and land use compatibility have to be taken into consideration. 
     The Government does not rule out the possibility of developing the land on the periphery of individual country parks but has to prioritise different land supply options when planning resources permit. We will explore the feasibility of developing the land on the periphery of individual country parks in due course.
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:45
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