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Follow-up on EIA report for San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node
     ​In response to the claim made by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node misidentified various bird species, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that it has communicated with the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to follow up on the incident.
     The CEDD hired a professional environmental consultant to conduct an EIA study for the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node, which includes an ecological impact assessment. When drafting the EIA report, the consultant has submitted the ecological baseline survey results to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the EPD for review. A total of 152 species of birds were recorded in the ecological baseline survey, with 68 of which are species of conservation importance. After reviewing the survey results and relevant data, the AFCD and the EPD confirmed that the birds recorded in the ecological baseline survey had covered the four bird species identified by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (including the Marsh Sandpiper, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Long-toed Stint), and the ecological impact assessment under the EIA study has been conducted based on the ecological survey results.
     A spokesman for the EPD said: "According to our preliminary understanding from the CEDD, the mismatch of photos and names of birds pointed out by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society was an editing issue during compilation of an appendix of the EIA report by the CEDD's consultant team. The consultant misplaced the photos for the Marsh Sandpiper and Little Stint. Regarding the above issue, the CEDD will submit a revised Appendix 10.2 to the EPD. As for the question about the Crested Goshawk, the CEDD's consultant confirmed that the recorded bird species was the Crested Goshawk. We have requested the CEDD to submit a report within one week to explain in detail the cause of the incident and its follow-up action. According to paragraph 4.5.2 of the Technical Memorandum (TM), in case the EIA report requires certain amendments but such amendments will not affect the validity of the assessment and the overall results and conclusions of the report, there is no need to resubmit the EIA report."
     The spokesman stressed that the statutory EIA process is a professional, objective and open system. The operation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) is open and transparent. The TM under the EIAO stipulates in details the principles, procedures, guidelines, requirements and criteria for handling various EIA matters. All EIA reports will be submitted to the EPD and relevant authorities (including the AFCD) for review in strict accordance with the requirements of the TM. The EIAO also stipulates statutory procedures for consulting the public and the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) on the project profiles and EIA reports, and requiring the EPD to take into account comments of the public and the ACE when approving EIA reports.
     Regarding the application submitted by the CEDD for approval of the EIA report for San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node, the EPD will review the application in strict accordance with the EIAO requirements, which include making the report available for public inspection and consultation with the ACE. All EIA reports must fully comply with the provisions and requirements of the EIAO, relevant study briefs and the TM before they are approved.
     The EIA report for the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node is being exhibited for public inspection in accordance with the EIAO, and it has been uploaded to the EIAO website (www.info.gov.hk/epd/eia). Members of the public can submit comments on the EIA report in writing to the Director of Environmental Protection between February 2 and March 2, 2024 by post to the EIAO Register Office at the EPD, 27th Floor, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong; by fax at 2147 0894, or by email to eiaocomment@epd.gov.hk.
     Before making the final decision on the EIA report, the Director of Environmental Protection will fully consider all comments related to environment submitted by the public and the ACE during the public inspection period in accordance with the EIAO.
Ends/Friday, February 23, 2024
Issued at HKT 23:15
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