Legislative Council Question 1 : "Screen-like buildings" by the Hon Alan Leong and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council
Following is a question by the Hon Alan Leong and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (February 28):
A survey conducted by a green group at the end of last year found that among the 138 private residential developments completed in the recent decade, 104 were classified as screen-like buildings. Moreover, all the nine forthcoming projects above railway stations include high-density screen-like buildings of 50 storeys or more. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it has conducted studies over the past three years on the adverse impact caused by the layout of buildings on the air ventilation and environmental hygiene of the neighbouring areas; if it has, of the results and improvement proposals; if not, the reasons for that; and
(b) whether it will adopt specific measures for districts with a high density of screen-like buildings to prevent the wall effect from worsening, such as revising the relevant Outline Zoning Plans or imposing appropriate lease conditions when granting land in those districts; if it will, of the details of such measures; if not, the reasons for that?
The Government understands and shares the public's concern over the impact of building design and layout on air ventilation. As a matter of fact, we have, in recent years, made efforts to enhance the understanding of the air ventilation issue within the government and the industry. We have taken various measures to include air ventilation as one of the considerations in the planning and design of development projects. We have also strived to pursue sustainable development to meet the community's aspiration for a quality living environment.
My reply to the two-part question is as follows:
(a) In 2005, the Planning Department completed the Feasibility Study for the Establishment of Air Ventilation Assessment System (the AVA Study). A set of design guidelines for the improvement of air ventilation was formulated on the basis of the findings. The guidelines include the creation of major air paths and open space, appropriate street layout, reference for building design and disposition and the adoption of a varying building height profile and distribution to avoid wind blockage. The guidelines were incorporated into the Chapter "Urban Design Guidelines" of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines in August 2006.
The AVA Study has also proposed a performance-based assessment system to compare the air ventilation impacts of various design options. In July 2006, the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau and the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau jointly issued a technical circular specifically on air ventilation assessment, under which air ventilation is formally recognized as one of the considerations in the planning of major Government development and redevelopment projects. We hope this will set as an example for the industry to follow. The private sector and quasi-public organisations are encouraged to refer to and adopts the guidelines in the planning and design of development projects.
(b) To keep pace with our social needs and our economic development, we will review and revise the land uses under the Outline Zoning Plans from time to time. Appropriate development parameters such as height restrictions and plot ratio will be formulated. In drawing up town plans and considering development proposals, we will make reference to the "Urban Design Guidelines" and carefully consider the impact of building design and disposition of development proposals on visual quality and air ventilation. The relevant authority will, on individual merits, request applicants to submit an air ventilation assessment through the planning approval mechanism.
In addition, appropriate development densities will be determined for individual sites under town plan and the Buildings Ordinance. This will not only cater for sustainable development of our city, but also meet the community's aspiration for a quality living and working environment. The relevant planning parameters will be specified in land leases to reflect the planning intention of the sites concerned.
Ends/Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:02