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EPD's Centralised Environmental Database to open progressively
     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) launched the Centralised Environmental Database (CED) (eiaced.epd.gov.hk) officially today (December 19) to support optimising the process stipulated under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO).
     In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council's Panel on Environmental Affairs on December 12, the EPD has reported the review on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process and recommended four major enhancement initiatives, including establishing a CED, updating the list of designated projects under the EIAO, updating the requirements for technical assessments, and facilitating direct application for environmental permits. Being the main focus of the recommendations, the CED utilises smart technology and a massive data system to support the whole EIA process and helps to shorten the time required for the EIA process from the original 36 to 48 months to 18 to 24 months.
     The CED is developed by the EPD with the application of geographic information system and a mapping system platform which encompasses various baseline data related to environment and ecology in the EIA reports. Modelling tools for air quality, water quality, hydrology, and traffic noise and simulated baseline information for the next few decades, which are required for conducting EIA studies, will also be progressively provided in the CED with a view to enhancing the accuracy and consistency of relevant assessments.
     In addition, to allow project proponents to understand potential environmental constraints of their projects at the early planning stage, the CED will also provide tools for initial environmental analysis and noise assessments to help project proponents and consultants compare different project design options in early stages of studies, so as to identify a favourable design which has a minimal environmental impact. Moreover, EIA consultants can also search, download and use available datasets for modelling and surveys which will significantly reduce the time needed for EIA studies and ensure the quality of assessments.
     At present, the EPD will first open general environmental information for public inspection. To provide the best browsing experience, the number of users of the CED is capped at 150. Smart environmental analysis and noise assessment tools will only be open to project proponents and their consultants at present, and the number of users will be limited to no more than 50.
     The EPD has also set up a one-stop service hotline in response to enquiries related to using the CED. Details are as follows:
Tel: 2835 2630
Email: enquiry_eiaoreview@epd.gov.hk
Ends/Monday, December 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:44
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