LCQ7: Improvements to urban planning, land administration and approval procedures for building construction

Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 12):


In his 2007-2008 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced that the Government would examine if further improvements could be made to urban planning, land administration and approval procedures for building construction. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the details of the above examination (including the expected commencement time and time taken to complete it, as well as the targets)?


Madam President,

The Government is committed to speeding up the approval procedures for private works, and reviews from time to time the procedures and processes for handling such applications with a view to moving with times. As pointed out by the Chief Executive in his 2007-08 Policy Address, the Government is not only a regulator, but also a service provider. We are responsible for enhancing the efficiency of the building construction industry and the property development market, promoting a business-friendly environment and maintaining the competitiveness of Hong Kong.

In line with the above objectives, the Development Bureau is working together with the departments concerned to examine if further improvements can be made to urban planning, land administration and approval procedures for building construction.

The work has commenced. At the meeting of the Land and Buildings Advisory Committee (LBAC) in mid-October, Members noted a flowchart for a typical development approval process, the concerns of the industry, and the discussion held and the feedback made by the LBAC's Sub-committees and the Government previously in response to such concerns.

Regarding the targets and direction of our work, we will follow up on the following issues, including -

(a) the Planning Department, the Lands Department and the Buildings Department examining the possibility of adopting more aligned definitions of the development parameters commonly used by them. Should the differences in interpreting the definitions need to be retained due to statutory requirements and the terms of land leases, a clearer account of the differences will be given. This will help improve the processing of applications for development;

(b) examining how to strengthen liaison with other departments concerned, e.g. the Transport Department, the Highways Department and the Environmental Protection Department etc., and work on shortening the time required to obtain their respective agreement or advice;

(c) examining how to enhance communication with the project proponents of the developments, so that the project proponents could provide the required information in a better and more timely manner; and

(d) exploring other proposals that can help streamline, expedite and enhance the effectiveness of the process.

Ends/Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Issued at HKT 15:01