LCQ10: Hong Kong 2030 Study: Planning Vision and Strategy

Following is a question by the Hon Tong Ka-wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 28):

In the Final Report of the Study on Hong Kong 2030: Planning Vision and Strategy (the HK2030 Study) released in October 2007, the Government mentioned that with regard to the protection of rural areas, "the rest of Hong Kong, comprising largely woodland, shrubland, grassland, agricultural land and rural settlements will primarily remain untouched by strategic development proposals, thereby facilitating the continued protection of our valuable natural resources".  Besides, quite a number of villagers and other individuals concerned have told me that they were dissatisfied with the Government's arrangements concerning land ownership for rural land development projects.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Government has, after the release of the Report on the HK2030 Study, formulated a development blueprint for the development of rural land in the New Territories for the next 20 years; if it has, what the specific objectives of the relevant development strategy are, as well as when it will conduct consultation on the development blueprint;

(b) what formats and steps the Government will adopt for conducting consultation before implementing the development blueprint (including whether it will conduct consultation on the entire development blueprint or on different development projects of the blueprint, and if the various government departments concerned will be tasked with or consultants will be commissioned to undertake the consultation work), as well as how the consultation timetable will be set; and

(c) in the face of the community's needs for developing rural areas, its respect for green ecology and demand for rural life, how the Government strikes a balance when drawing up the development strategy for rural land in the New Territories, as well as how it resolves the relevant problems of land ownership when implementing the policy on rural development?



(a) The HK2030 Study aims to formulate a strategic planning framework to guide the development of major infrastructure for Hong Kong's development up to 2030, in order to help us meet the challenges of the future.  In the course of the study, the Administration conducted three rounds of extensive public consultation to canvass public views on various planning issues.

The main objective of the HK2030 Study is to adhere to the principles of sustainable development to balance social, economic and environmental needs.  Protection of the rural areas is an important topic of the study.   According to the study report, all existing development areas including the urban areas and new towns are expected to accommodate 70% of the population growth until 2030, and the remaining 30% will be absorbed through the development of about 2% of the land including the establishment of two New Development Areas (NDAs) (i.e. the North East New Territories (NENT) NDAs and the Hung Shui Kiu NDA in North West New Territories (NWNT)) and low-density development in rural areas.  Besides, over 46% of the land in Hong Kong will continue to be designated as country parks or as special areas and conservation areas on Outline Zoning Plans for protection.

The Administration will undertake public engagement at different stages of the planning studies for the NENT NDAs, the Hung Shui Kui NDA in NWNT and development of rural areas for timely collection and consideration of public views to facilitate the formulation of recommended development and improvement schemes.

The Stage 1 Public Engagement for the NENT NDAs Planning and Engineering Study was conducted in end 2008 for the public to express their vision for the NDAs.  The Stage 2 Public Engagement will commence shortly and the Legislative Council Panel on Development will be consulted soon. The commencement of the Planning and Engineering Study for the Hung Shui Kiu NDA meanwhile is under review to take account of the findings of the further investigation on the possible spur line connecting the Hong Kong-Shenzhen West Express Line with Hung Shui Kiu.  This planning study will also include public engagement.

With regard to the development of the rural areas, the Administration is undertaking a series of planning studies covering the Closed Area, the Lau Fau Shan rural township and surrounding areas, as well as the Sha Tau Kok rural township and surrounding areas.  The Stage 1 Community Engagement for the Study on Land Use Planning for the Closed Area was conducted in mid-2008 to seek public views on the draft Concept Plan.  The Stage 2 Public Engagement will commence shortly and the Legislative Council Panel on Development will be consulted.  The Stage 1 Community Engagement of the Study on the Enhancement of the Lau Fau Shan Rural Township and Surrounding Areas and the Study on the Enhancement of the Sha Tau Kok Rural Township and Surrounding Areas, which aim to solicit public views on the vision for the areas concerned, was conducted from July to August this year and is underway (from October to December this year) respectively.  The Administration and its consultants will take into account the public views collected to draw up options on development/improvement plans for public consultation in the next stage.  

(b) When carrying out district planning studies and implementing major infrastructural development projects, the Administration will conduct timely public engagement to collect and consider public views.  Activities for public engagement include open forums, briefings for stakeholder groups, community workshops, meetings with villagers and focus group discussions, etc.  Generally, several rounds of consultation will be conducted.  The timing and details of public engagement activities will depend on the progress and circumstances of the individual studies and projects.  Each public engagement activity will be extensively promoted to attract more members of the public and stakeholders to participate while District Councils will also be briefed and consulted.  Relevant government departments will attend the various public engagement activities together with the commissioned consultants to listen to public opinions and participate in the discussion.

(c) Studies on the planning and implementation of rural development will take into consideration various factors including the need for social and economic development as well as assessments in terms of the environment, conservation, traffic, land use planning, etc., of the development options.  Through the extensive public consultation as mentioned above, public views including those on the development needs of individual villages, protection of the rural areas, etc., will be taken into full account.

Upon implementation, the recommended proposals will be gazetted in accordance with the relevant ordinances, such as the Town Planning Ordinance, the Road (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and the Railways Ordinance, such that the public can express their views and make suggestions.  If there is a need to resume some private land, the Administration will consider the particulars of the project in detail so as to minimise the areas to be affected.  During the planning and implementation process, the Administration will balance development needs and public aspirations including the needs of rural residents.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:31