6th June 2013
<Lung Mei Man-Made Beach Approved Despite Public Opposition, Alliance on Protecting Lung Mei to Seek Judicial Review>
Despite strong oppositions from environment concern groups, the Hong Kong SAR government decided to push forward the Lung Mei Man-Made Beach project in Tai Po – regardless of all objections – and approved the construction contract for the project on 5th June. Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for Environment, said that the construction contract was approved because the ecological value of Lung Mei is relatively low, and he believes that the government maintains a balance between conservation and development.
Commenting on the Civil Engineering and Development Department’s approval of the Lung Mei Man-made Beach construction contract, Wong Kam-sing said that the on-site ecological evaluation report conducted by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, it is believed that the biological diversity in Lung Mei remains low
In addition, since Lung Mei’s ecological values are lower than that of the three relevant zones in Tolo Harbour, the contract was approved. In regards to come environmental concern groups’ comments about launching judicial review against the project, Wong said that rule of law is one of Hong Kong’s foundations, and the government highly values ecological conservation.
The Environmental Protection Department said that the Hong Kong SAR government places the utmost importance on the discovery of Hippocampus kuda (a type of seahorse) at the construction site, qualified experts will oversee and monitor the construction. The Department also said that when the Civil Engineering and Development Department did not provide any wrong or misleading information about the site, hence there are no grounds for them to cancel or vary the environmental permit.
Peter Lee Siu-man, spokesperson at Alliance on Protecting Lung Mei, said that he is extremely angry and disappointed by the government’s decision. He criticised the government for disregarding the scientific evidence on discovering Hippocampus kuda at Lung Mei.
Li also pointed out that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the EIA report done by the Hong Kong SAR government contains misleading and incomplete information. They’re planning to seek a judicial review within a week.
Albert Luk, Wai-hung, a barrister, said that if the environmental concern groups wish to seek judicial review, they have to have sufficient evidence to prove that the government’s EIA report, of which the contract approval was based on, is not comprehensive, or else the court will not accept the application. Luk believes that once the legal proceeding begins, the government will suspend the construction, delay will affect the cost of the project.