Government welcomes Ombudsman's recommendations on action against Unauthorized Building Works in New Territories Exempted Houses

The Government today (August 26) welcomed the Ombudsman's recommendations in the investigation report on Enforcement Action against Unauthorized Building Works (UBWs) in New Territories Exempted Houses (NTEHs).

A spokesman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said that the Government concurred with the Ombudsman's conclusion that enforcement against UBWs in NTEHs should aim at containment of the problem and alternative measures should be devised to tackle the problem in a more effective manner.

"The Government has made ongoing efforts to contain the UBW problem in NTEHs through the enforcement actions taken by the Lands Department and Buildings Department. One of the measures adopted is to take immediate enforcement action against UB works in progress (WIPs) in the villages in the New Territories. After such a measure was implemented in early 2002, 108 removal orders for WIPs were issued between March 2002 and the end of June 2004," he said.

"In addition to enhancing the surveillance of WIPs and the enforcement actions against them, we will also start a review of our enforcement strategy against UBWs in NTEHs.

"In the review, we will identify areas where enforcement efforts should be enhanced, taking into account the need to ensure public safety, optimisation of resources and the impact on affected parties. This will require careful deliberation and we hope to come up with realistic and practical measures to tackle the problem," the spokesman noted.

"In the review process, we will consult stakeholders on the proposed improvement measures. Once we have decided on the measures to be adopted, we will publicise them to enhance general awareness," he said.

Ends/Thursday, August 26, 2004