PlanD's and CEDD's response on NENT NDA Study
In response to media enquiries on the North East New Territories New Development Areas (NENT NDAs) Planning and Engineering Study, the Planning Department (PlanD) and the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) have the following responses:
The objective of implementing the NENT NDAs is to cater for the population growth and the long-term demand for housing and economic development. The CEDD and PlanD are now undertaking a planning and engineering study to establish a planning and development framework for the Kwu Tung North (KTN), Fanling North (FLN) and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling NDAs and to formulate development plans and implementation strategy.
The KTN NDA adopts ‘Mixed Development Node’ as the development theme, making good use of the transportation network and providing a mix of commercial, residential, and research and development (R&D) uses, as well as land for ecological conservation. The Long Valley area is earmarked as Nature Park (about 37 hectares), where wet agriculture practice could continue to be practised to conserve the ecological value and function of the area. In addition, two tracts of land to the north and south of the Nature Park (about 45 hectares) and a piece of land in Fu Tei Au of the FLN NDA (about 9 hectares) would be zoned “Agriculture” ("AGR"), in which existing farming practice could continue.
It is inevitable that some of the existing farmers would be affected by the NDA development. According to our estimate, the affected land under active cultivation amounts to some 22 hectares. The Government would endeavour to ensure that the affectees would be offered reasonable arrangements under a fair and equitable mechanism. We are considering a new measure under which farmers would have the opportunity in future to farm in the proposed Nature Park managed by the Government in accordance with the relevant requirements and guidelines.
Apart from the above, the affected farmers could purchase and lease farmland at suitable locations for agricultural rehabilitation under the prevailing land policy. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will assist farmers and potential farmers in renting land for agriculture. It possesses information on fallow agricultural land and would assist in lining up interested farmers with land owners to discuss about land lease arrangements. At present, about 3,280 hectares of land in Hong Kong is zoned “AGR”, of which 730 hectares is under cultivation.
The AFCD has also been offering various forms of assistance to the farmers, including supporting facilities, technical know-how, low interest loans and marketing, etc. to support and promote development of the local agriculture.
The Stage 3 Public Engagement of the NENT NDAs Study will last for about two and a half months, commencing in mid June 2012 and for completion in end August. We have already consulted 25 bodies and organisations, including the Town Planning Board, Advisory Committee on the Environment, Heung Yee Kuk, North District Council, relevant Rural Committees, green groups and concerned organisations. We will continue to consult other stakeholders and provide briefings to the affected residents and local concern groups.
We have convened a public meeting in KTN which was attended by over 600 people. We are also arranging two more briefings in Fanling and Ta Kwu Ling on August 18 and 20, respectively, extending invitation to the affected residents and farmers in the areas. In addition, we have advertised in local newspapers and sent letters and posters to relevant parties, publicising the Stage 3 Public Engagement activities and inviting the public to make their views. A roving exhibition introducing the NDAs development has also been set up at the North District, Sha Tin and North Point Government Offices. We will continue to release the background information, consultation documents, video and executive summary of technical documents, etc of the NDAs on the Study website (www.nentnda.gov.hk) for public viewing.
Ends/Thursday, August 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 22:32