Implementation of the new Urban Renewal Strategy
On the basis of broad consensus built over an extensive two-year public engagement between July 2008 and July 2010, we have drawn up the new Urban Renewal Strategy (URS) that has come into effect since 24 February 2011.  All the key initiatives contained in the new URS have been put in place -
  1. the first District Urban Renewal Forum (DURF) has been set up in Kowloon City since June 2011 as an initiative to adopt a district-based and public participatory approach to urban renewal.  The Kowloon City DURF has already met twice and agreed on a work plan for the coming year.  A district planning study and a district social impact assessment study will soon be launched with early public engagement;
  2. the Urban Renewal Trust Fund with an endowment of $500 million by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has been established and is in operation.  The Trust Fund will provide an independent funding source to support the operation of social service teams who will render assistance to affected residents of urban redevelopment projects implemented by the URA, support social impact assessment and other related planning studies to be proposed by DURF to strengthen urban renewal planning at the district level, and support heritage preservation and district revitalisation initiatives proposed by non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in the overall context of urban renewal.  The Urban Renewal Fund Limited, an independent company limited by guarantee, was incorporated on 15 August 2011 to act as trustee for the Trust Fund and to perform activities to attain the objects of the Trust Fund;
  3. the URA has announced details of its new “facilitator” scheme and “demand-led” scheme to facilitate redevelopment and started receiving applications from interested owners from 26 July 2011.  While application under the “facilitator” scheme is open all year round, for better planning purpose, application for the “demand-led” scheme will be open till 31 October 2011;
  4. the URA has launched the “flat for flat” scheme as an alternative to cash compensation for owner-occupiers of residential properties affected by the URA's urban renewal projects; and
  5. preparation is under way to hand over the dedicated site for the “flat for flat” scheme at the KTD to the URA in the first half of 2012.  The flats are expected to be ready for occupation in 2016.

Fostering a Quality and Sustainable Built Environment
In response to rising public concerns over the quality and sustainability of built environment and the so-called “inflated building” problem, the CE announced in his 2010-11 Policy Address that we would tighten the policies concerning the granting of GFA concessions for private buildings and introduce standards for quality and sustainable building design such as requiring the incorporation of building separation or enhancement of building permeability, setback and greenery as design elements in new buildings.
The Buildings Department (BD) consulted the stakeholders in the building industry and the Buildings Sub-committee of the LDAC on a total of 15 draft new/revised practice notes for implementing the new measures.  Taking into account the practical concerns expressed, and to allow more room for introducing green building features, BD refined the draft practice notes and promulgated the finalised versions on 31 January 2011.  The new requirements apply to building plans submitted on or after 1 April 2011.  We will continue to monitor the implementation of the package of measures.
Heritage Conservation
In addition to taking forward the heritage conservation projects under “Conserving Central” ¹, we have made good progress with other initiatives on heritage conservation. In the Government domain –
  1. For the six revitalisation projects under Batch I of the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme (the Revitalisation Scheme), the Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong Campus, which was revitalised from the former North Kowloon Magistracy, commenced operation in September 2010.  The other five projects are expected to start operation from 2011 to 2012;
  2. For the revitalisation of the Old Tai Po Police Station, the Blue House Cluster and the Stone Houses under Batch II of the Revitalisation Scheme, we plan to seek funding approval from the Public Works Subcommittee and the Finance Committee of the LegCo from end 2011 to first half of 2012;
  3. We launched Batch III of the Revitalisation Scheme on  7 October 2011.  Applications for the four buildings (i.e. King Yin Lei, Bridges Street Market, Haw Par Mansion and Former Fanling Magistracy) will close in February 2012;
  4. Up to September 2011, Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) has confirmed the grading of 1 185 historic buildings . AAB will continue to take forward the grading exercise, focusing first on finalising the grading of the remaining items in the list of 1 444 historic buildings before examining new items/categories proposed by the public for consideration of grading ; and
  5. The Antiquities Authority declared the fortified structure at No. 55 Ha Pak Nai as a monument in June 2011.  This addition has brought the total number of declared monuments in Hong Kong to 99.  The Antiquities Authority also declared Ho Tung Gardens as a proposed monument in January 2011 to provide Ho Tung Gardens with a 12-month statutory protection while allowing time for the Antiquities Authority to consider whether Ho Tung Gardens warrants declaration as a monument.

¹ “Conserving Central” was announced by the CE in his 2009-10 Policy Address.  It comprises eight innovative projects to preserve many of the important cultural, historical and archaeological features in Central while adding new life and vibrancy to the area.  The implementation progress of these projects is set out at Annex 3.

² This figure includes items on the list of 1 444 historic buildings in the territory for which a public consultation exercise on their proposed grading was carried out from March to September 2009 as well as new items proposed for grading.

³ AAB will flexibly advance its discussion on the grading of the new items if there is cogent need for an early assessment.

In the private domain –
  1. Following the launching of the Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme in August 2008, we have approved 14 applications and are now processing another 15 as at September 2011;
  2. With the approval of the CE-in-Council for the land lease modification for Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH)’s Central Compound on Lower Albert Road and the in-situ land exchange for another site of HKSKH on Clementi Road at Mount Butler at nominal premium, four historic buildings in HKSKH’s Central Compound will be preserved.  The community will benefit from the expanded range of community services available after completion of the preservation-cum-development project as well as enhanced public access to the Central Compound for better appreciation of the four historic buildings; and
  3. Since the declaration of Ho Tung Gardens as a proposed monument as mentioned in paragraph 53(e) above, we have been discussing preservation options with the owner of Ho Tung Gardens in earnest, taking account of the heritage conservation objective while respecting private property rights.
In the past year, the Commissioner for Heritage’s Office has organised a series of public education programmes and activities with the objective of encouraging wider participation by different community groups in heritage conservation.  For instance, a heritage tourism expo was held since December 2010 to showcase our rich built heritage; King Yin Lei Open Days were organised for the public and stakeholders in April and May 2011; and talks and guided tours to commemorate the centenary of the 1911 Revolution were held in the second half of 2011.  We are organising an International Conference on Heritage Conservation in Hong Kong from 12 to 13 December 2011, and expect to draw over 400 participants from around the world and locally.
Enhancing Building Safety in Hong Kong
To further enhance building safety in Hong Kong, the CE announced a new multi-pronged approach in the 2010-11 Policy Address covering legislation, enforcement, support and assistance to owners as well as publicity and public education.  In the past year, a number of important legislative proposals to enhance building safety have been enacted and put into force.  The Minor Works Control System has been fully implemented since December 2010, and the Buildings (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 which provides the legislative framework for the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme (MBIS) and Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme (MWIS) was enacted in June this year.  In the current legislative session, we will introduce a subsidiary legislation setting out the modus operandi of the MBIS and MWIS, and introduce a bill to implement various new initiatives to strengthen the Building Authority’s enforcement powers to deter non-compliance and encourage owners to take up their own responsibilities in maintaining and repairing their properties.  We introduced the Lifts and Escalators Bill to the LegCo in May 2011.  We are working closely with the LegCo in the examination of the Bill with an aim to strengthening the regulatory control over lift and escalator safety as early as possible.
Since April 2011, BD has started to implement a new enforcement policy against unauthorised building works (UBWs) by extending the coverage of UBWs that will be subject to immediate enforcement action to include most of the UBWs that can be found on the façade of a building.  BD has also launched large-scale operations against sub-divided flats.  A territory-wide stocktaking exercise for all UBWs on the exterior of buildings has been launched since 2011 with a view to forming a useful database for future enforcement action and policy formulation.
As regards UBWs in New Territories Exempted Houses, we have announced our plan to tighten enforcement and to tackle existing UBWs in these buildings through an orderly and progressive approach.  We will categorise existing UBWs by reference to the severity of their breach of the law and the risks to building and public safety; and will adopt corresponding measures for progressive enforcement in line with the order of priority.  We are finalising detailed implementation plans.  In the coming months, we will launch extensive publicity targeted at the villagers concerned to promote their awareness of the risks that the UBWs pose to their occupants and other members of the public, and to clearly apprise them of the types of structures and facilities which may or may not be allowed in these houses.  We will then embark on proactive action against existing UBWs which, although not posing imminent danger, constitute serious contravention of the law and impose higher potential risks to building and public safety.  In order to curb the emergence of new UBWs, we will launch a reporting and safety certification scheme for other UBWs which constitute less serious contravention of the law and impose lower potential risks.
We are working closely with the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and the URA to assist owners in need to carry out repair and maintenance works.  In April 2011, upon the completion of a comprehensive review, various financial assistance schemes under the HKHS and URA were consolidated into the Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme under which one-stop assistance is provided to all owners in need and applications for various schemes funded by the Government can be made to either organisation.  During the past year, we also continued with the OBB.  With a total funding of $3.5 billion, the OBB will assist the owners of over 3 000 buildings to maintain their buildings and create more than 60 000 employment opportunities in total.
We mounted a large-scale public education campaign to foster a building safety culture in Hong Kong.  Apart from the “community monitoring” programme under which the public is mobilised to report building safety problems, we have also adopted innovative and tailor-made channels to disseminate building safety messages.
Total Water Management
We promulgated the total water management (TWM) strategy in 2008 which maps out the long-term strategy for a balanced demand and supply of raw water to support the sustainable development of Hong Kong.  Following our effort to educate the public on water conservation with focus on school students in the past few years, we will enhance public education on water conservation and establish a Water Conservation Education Centre to provide the public with live demonstration of various water saving features, water distribution methods and treatment technologies, leakage detection methods and pressure management technologies in the Centre.  Beside that, we have been implementing a voluntary “Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme” to facilitate the public to properly choose water-efficient products thereby achieving water conservation.  We are now conducting a water consumption study to identify general water consumption patterns of domestic household users for promotion of sustainable use of water.  We plan to expand our publicity effort to service trades and businesses sector, noting that their use of fresh water constitutes one quarter of the total consumption.  We would also raise their awareness in water conservation by organising promotional activities such as visits, talks, campaigns and competitions.
We have made good progress on the staged implementation of the Water Mains Replacement and Rehabilitation (R&R) programme which aims at replacing/rehabilitating about 3 000 kilometers of old water mains.  Works under stages 1 and 2 have been substantially completed while works under stage 3 and 4 are actively under way.  Up to the end of September 2011 a total of 1 649 kilometers of pipes have been replaced/ rehabilitated  resulting in sharp reduction in the number of bursts from about 2 500 in 2000-01 to 609 in 2010-11.  The water mains leakage rate has also reduced from 25% in 2001 to 20% in 2011.  We plan to commence the remaining phase of the R&R programme in early 2012 with a view to completing the entire programme by 2015.
The current agreement for the supply of Dongjiang (DJ) water to Hong Kong is due to expire at the end of 2011.  We will brief Members on the arrangements for the supply of DJ water between 2012 and 2014, its financial implications and our proposal of seeking a supplementary provision from the Finance Committee of the LegCo to meet the DJ water cost in 2011-12.
To diversify the supply sources of drinking water, we will keep abreast of the latest development in seawater desalination technology to monitor the economic viability of this potential source of water supply, noting the reduction in cost due to technological advancement over the past years.  We have earmarked a site in Tseng Kwan O and will conduct feasibility study for building a desalination plant at this site.
One of the key initiatives under the TWM strategy is to actively consider water reclamation for non-potable application to reduce the demand for fresh water.  In this regard, we are exploring the use of reclaimed water for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses in Sheung Shui, Fanling and the NDA, in the north-eastern part of the New Territories.
Flood Prevention
Drainage Master Planning is the strategy we have adopted to provide a comprehensive solution at a district wide level to reduce flooding risk.  Drainage Master Plan studies examine and identify the inadequacies of the existing stormwater drainage system and associated facilities within the study area.  Review of the Drainage Master Plans will provide a regional assessment over a district to take into account of the most recent developments in the area.  We will review the Drainage Master Plans in East Kowloon and West Kowloon to evaluate the performance of the existing drainage system in these districts and propose long and short term improvement measures to mitigate the flooding risks.
We have been implementing the flood prevention programme including the three drainage tunnel projects and will commence the construction of the underground stormwater storage tank project in Happy Valley in 2012 to enhance the protection level in flood prone areas.  We will also conduct a study to assess the flooding risks associated with stream courses with inhabitants nearby and will devise a warning system for these residents.
Sustainable Development for Construction – Zero Carbon Building
With a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector and setting an example for others to follow, we embarked on a study to the adoption of low carbon construction measures in June 2011.  The study will firstly determine the contribution of the various typical construction processes in greenhouse gas emission, to be followed by the preparation of good practices to reduce emissions.  We are pleased to have the support and participation of the construction industry in the study.
Buildings account for about 90% of our electricity consumption and 60% of our greenhouse gas emissions.  To meet the global challenge of climate change and the sustainable development of Hong Kong, adopting low or even zero carbon construction is a core measure.  To spearhead this, we are collaborating with the CIC to develop CIC’s former Kowloon Bay training ground into a public open space with the theme of “low carbon living”, including the construction of a landscaped area and a zero carbon building (ZCB).  This quality public open space will also complement the new policy of revitalising and transforming Kowloon East area into another CBD of Hong Kong.
The ZCB aims to surpass the overseas counterparts in respect of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through export of renewable energy to serve as a showcase for the construction industry, both internationally and locally.  The ZCB will adopt a variety of energy-saving, low-carbon building design and technologies with real-life applications in local home and office settings, with a view to increasing public awareness and buy-in of low carbon, sustainable living.  This landscape area and ZCB under construction will also provide a quality public open space for enjoyment of office users and residents nearby, as well as becoming one of the important tourist spots.  We schedule to open the ZCB and the public open space by mid 2012.