LCQ 14 : Land filling activities on private land
Following is a question by the Hon Albert CHAN and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Works, Mr Keith Kwok Ka-keung, at the Legislative Council meeting today (June 5) :
I have received complaints from some New Territories residents who allege that rain water flowed into their homes during heavy downpours because the land in front of their houses having been filled up to form elevated sites, thus turning the sites of their houses into comparatively low-lying areas. Nevertheless, the Government has refused to deal with their complaints on grounds that the land concerned is held under Block Crown Leases. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of such complaints received, the districts concerned and the outcomes of such complaints over the past three years; and
(b) of the Government's policies or measures to deal with such nuisances to the residents, and whether it will review the effectiveness of such policies or measures?
(a) Government has received a total of 49 complaints relating to land filling on private land causing blockage of drains and flooding in the past three years. Most of the complaints were in Yuen Long (30 cases) and North District (12 cases). The rest were in Tuen Mun (3), Tai Po (2), Tsuen Wan (1), and Islands (1). Upon receiving the complaints, Government carried out investigation and provided advice/suggestion for remedial works to the complainants and the landowners concerned. The remedial measures suggested include the widening of surface drainage channels and provision of larger underground drains. If the land filling activity involves unauthorized development, the Government would take follow-up enforcement actions in accordance with the provisions of the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap 131).
(b) Government is unable to carry out lease enforcement action against land filling on agricultural lots as the activity itself does not constitute a breach of the Block Crown Lease. However, there is control over the use of land under the Town Planning Ordinance.
Under that Ordinance, the Director of Planning is empowered to take enforcement actions against unauthorized developments in Development Permission Areas (DPA) or areas covered by outline zoning plans in the rural areas. A development is unauthorized if it is not an existing use, not permitted under the plan or not covered by valid permission from Town Planning Board. In some areas, it is specified in the relevant statutory plans that planning permission is required for site formation works and filling of ponds. For large-scale developments, the submission of a Drainage Impact Assessment or provision of proper drainage system is required as a condition of planning approval by the Town Planning Board.
Government will conduct site investigations from time to time to monitor the use of land in rural areas and investigate complaints lodged by the public. If unauthorized development is identified, the Government will take follow-up enforcement actions in accordance with the provisions of the Town Planning Ordinance. The effectiveness of these measures will be reviewed as and when necessary.
End/Wednesday, June 5, 2002