LCQ7: Extended Landslip Preventive Measures

Following is a question by the Dr Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):


The Administration advised at the meeting of the Public Works Subcommittee on November 4, 2009 that all high-priority government man-made slopes would be stabilised upon completion of the 10-year Extended Landslip Preventive Measures (LPM) programme by 2010.  It has been learnt that some two-thirds of the man-made slopes in Hong Kong are government slopes, and some 18 000 man-made slopes are privately owned.  As part of the Extended LPM programme, safety-screening studies were carried out on private slopes, and the number of Dangerous Hillside Orders served on owners of private slopes each year had increased sharply in the past decade.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of Dangerous Hillside Orders served each year since the implementation of the Extended LPM programme in 2000 and, among them, the number of orders which had been fully complied with, the number of persons convicted of non-compliance and the main reasons for non-compliance;

(b) of the respective numbers of professional personnel and works personnel employed in the Government and in the private sector for slope maintenance work in Hong Kong at present;

(c) of the transferability of the geotechnical and other skills learned during the Extended LPM programme to other engineering and construction work for use;

(d) whether it has assessed if the major infrastructure projects being undertaken by the Government will result in a significant increase in demand for geotechnical, slope stabilisation and maintenance expertise from the private sector; and

(e) whether it knows if Hong Kong has developed any export capability in slope stabilisation and maintenance services; if so, of the value of such services being exported each year during which the Extended LPM programme was being implemented?



The Extended Landslip Preventive Measures (LPM) Programme to deal with all known high-risk man-made slopes affecting major roads and developments will be completed by 2010.  To dovetail with the Extended LPM Programme, the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has promulgated the implementation of the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation (LPMit) Programme to start works in 2010 to deal with those potentially problematic man-made slopes of moderate risk.  Under the LPMit Programme, the Government will upgrade government man-made slopes when the risk-ranking warrants them necessary, conduct safety-screening studies for private man-made slopes, and implement risk mitigation works for natural hillside catchments.  Meanwhile, the Government will continue to check the design and construction of all new slopes, undertake regular maintenance of government slopes to prevent deterioration, promote public awareness and education of landslide risks, issue landslip warnings and provide emergency response to landslides.

My reply to the five points raised in the question is as follows:

(a) The annual numbers of Dangerous Hillside Orders (DHOs) served since the implementation of the Extended LPM in 2000, are given in the table below:

           No. of              No. of DHOs
Year    DHOs issued   fully complied with
----     -----------        -------------------
2000      155               125
2001      265               161
2002      220               167
2003      131                86
2004      160                80
2005      168                76
2006      144                46
2007      140                30
2008      140                 9
2009      141                 0
             -----                ---
Total   1,664                780

Among the DHOs served in the past 10 years, we have initiated 13 prosecution cases amongst which seven persons/companies pleaded guilty in the court for non-compliance of the orders, five cases were subsequently withdrawn and one case is pending outcome.

Normally, the Buildings Department (BD) would allow 7 months for a DHO to be complied with by the owner.  However, the owner may apply for extension of time when he has good reasons to do so.  If a DHO turns into non-compliance, a warning letter will be issued to the owner followed by prosecution action or default works action by BD.  Generally, default works actions will take about 49 months to complete, i.e. 5 months to appoint default works consultant to design the slope repair works and 44 months for the actual design and construction of the slope repair.  For those DHOs that are not yet complied with, they are still at various stages of compliance actions such as improvement works by the owners in progress, appeal by the owners pending outcomes, prosecution actions and default works actions being taken by BD.

The main reason for non-compliance of DHOs is that some owners do not have the capability to organise the repair works by themselves or they refuse to comply with the orders because of financial reasons.  To assist owners with financial difficulties, the current Comprehensive Building Safety Improvement Loan Scheme of the Government could provide loans to individual owners for improving the safety of their private slopes.

(b) Currently, the total numbers of professional personnel and non-professional personnel employed in the Government for slope works in Hong Kong are about 190 and 470 respectively.  These personnel are deployed in the GEO for slope control and enhancement works as well as in seven departments, including Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Architectural Services Department, Drainage Services Department, Highways Department, Housing Department, Lands Department and Water Supplies Department for slope maintenance works.  The Government does not have the figures of professional and non-professional personnel employed currently in the private sector for slope maintenance works in Hong Kong.

(c) Over the years, the GEO has accumulated rich knowledge gained from the LPM works.  The office has published a number of guidance documents to promulgate good practices in slope related works for reference by geotechnical practitioners both within and outside government.  In addition, the GEO has organized local and international seminars/workshops in conjunction with professional bodies and universities to exchange knowledge and experience in slope engineering.  Consultants and contractors, who have been involved in the LPM works, have applied their geotechnical engineering knowledge on other engineering and construction projects.

(d) In August 2007, the Government commissioned a consultancy study to review the manpower situation of the local construction industry, and to develop manpower strategies.  The study findings showed that apart from tunneling work, the local market could cope with the increase in demand in the field of geotechnical engineering.  As for tunneling specialists, we expect international consultants and contractors could fill in any shortage in supply.

(e) The GEO managed LPM works have provided local and overseas consultants and contractors with a wealth of geotechnical engineering knowledge which covered slope stabilisation and maintenance services.  These personnel have provided similar services outside Hong Kong in Mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea.  The Government does not have statistics on the value of such services exported each year.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:58