Government introduces Bill into Legislative Council for streamlining development procedures

The Development Bureau published the Development (Town Planning, Lands and Works) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2022 (the Bill) today (December 8), covering amendments to various development-related statutory procedures including town planning, land resumption, reclamation, roads and railway works etc, in order to compress development timetables and speed up the production of land to meet society’s keen demand for land and housing.
A spokesperson for the Development Bureau said, “We have formulated the legislative amendment proposals under the Bill, having duly considered the views of the public and relevant stakeholders in striving to strike an appropriate balance among the various objectives. Apart from enhancing speed and efficiency, the proposals will ensure that development procedures remain professionally based with suitable public participation, and allow us to process rehousing and compensation matters for affected persons at the earliest opportunity. The proposed measures will have a critical impact on expediting the land supply. For a typical project, the time required for transforming a piece of ‘primitive land’ into a ‘spade-ready’ site for housing development will be reduced from at least six years to four years, while for large-scale projects such as New Development Areas, the time required will be compressed from 13 years to seven years.”
The Bill amends the existing procedures along five directions, which are (1) streamlining and shortening statutory time limits; (2) avoiding repetitive procedures of a similar nature; (3) providing an express mandate in the law for the Government to proceed with different procedures in parallel; (4) improving inconsistent or ambiguous arrangements; and (5) streamlining other miscellaneous processes for more effective use of public resources. The Development Bureau also takes this opportunity to strengthen the enforcement-related provisions under the Town Planning Ordinance, in order to protect more effectively rural areas with high ecological value but subject to development pressure and risks of environmental degradation. The key measures are set out at Annex.
The Development Bureau briefed the Legislative Council (LegCo) Panel on Development on the initial legislative amendment proposals in March this year, and thereafter engaged various stakeholders and organisations including statutory bodies, industry representatives, professional institutes, think-tanks and green groups etc, to exchange views.  Some of the proposals have been suitably refined in the light of the comments received.
The spokesperson continued, “Land is key to development and the building of a liveable city. There are high expectations from the community for the Government to expedite land supply to meet our housing and economic development needs. The Government will fully support the LegCo’s examination of the Bill, with the hope that the Bill could be passed and implemented as soon as possible.”
The Bill will be gazetted tomorrow (December 9) and introduced into the LegCo for first reading on December 14. For details of the proposed measures, please refer to the LegCo Brief issued today.
Ends/Thursday, December 8, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:45