Big interest in HK’s third runway enviro study

Submissions from companies and the general public have steadily flowed in following the Hong Kong government’s publication of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKIA) proposed three runway system. Wong Joon San reports.

Big interest in HK’s third runway enviro study

The Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK) made the report available for public inspection between June 20 and July 19 so that parties with an interest in the development of the third runway could provide their views.

Local and international experts who took two years to compile the EIA report concluded that the impacts of a threerunway system at HKIA are “acceptable given the tremendous efforts made in identifying, avoiding and minimising the potential impacts with extensive measures proposed”.

The AAHK stressed its commitment to addressing the likely environmental effects arising from the huge project, with a projected budget of HK$136 billion. More than 250 measures to “avoid, minimise, mitigate and compensate for potential environmental impact” have been proposed in the EIA report.

These include the creation of Hong Kong’s largest-ever marine park in northwestern Lantau waters, using non-dredge methods for reclamation, and various measures to reduce noise and emissions associated with air traffic at the airport.

Vincent Lo, the newly appointed AAHK chairman who replaced Marvin Cheung Kin-tung, said that HKIA is “strategically important to sustaining Hong Kong’s development and economy” and that everything possible is being done to address the likely environmental impacts.

Following the public inspection period, the EIA report will be reviewed by the Advisory Council on the Environment, whose advice will then be considered by the Director of Environmental Protection as to whether the report shall be approved and an Environmental Permit granted – a process the AAHK hopes can be completed in 2014.