LCQ15: Planning for open space and green belt in the community

Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 10):


It has been learnt that in recent years quite a number of members of the public are very concerned about the planning for open space and green belt in the community.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the respective total areas which have been zoned as open space and green belt under the Outline Zoning Plans at present, broken down by District Council district, and among them, the respective areas of land which have still not been developed according to such land use, as well as the development timetable for such areas of land; if there is no timetable, of the reasons for that;

(b)  according to the standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, of the respective total shortfalls in the areas of open space and green belt in each District Council district at present; and

(c)  of the total areas of private land which have been zoned as open space and green belt; whether the Government plans to recover such areas of land for development as open space and green belt; if so, of the timetables; if not, the reasons for that?



The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) suggests that a minimum of 20 hectares (ha) of open space (including 10 ha of local open space and 10 ha of district open space) should be provided for every 100,000 persons.  Green belt areas are the existing natural environment and are not formed through development.  The purpose of designating appropriate natural environment in built-up areas/urban fringe areas as green belt is to protect the environment from encroachment by urban development.  The HKPSG has not suggested the area of green belt that should be provided in Hong Kong.  However, it is worth mentioning that out of the 1,100 square kilometres of area of Hong Kong, 46% of the land are country parks and special areas which are under protection and for the enjoyment of the public.

The reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a)&(c) Annex 1 lists out the total area zoned as open space on the Outline Zoning Plans by District Council district, and the area of private land thereof.  The total area of land zoned as open space will be greater than the area suggested in accordance with the calculation under the HKPSG.  The reason is that the former includes slope areas which may not be suitable for development, as well as open space required to be developed to cope with long-term population growth.  The departments concerned will plan the timetable for implementing open space to cope with population growth in various districts, and will consider whether it is necessary to resume private land for such purpose.

In response to part (a) of the question on development timetable, taking the Central and Western District as an example (see Annex 2), the area of existing (developed) open space is 44 ha.  The area of open space planned but awaiting development/currently under development is 13 ha, of which only 0.3 ha is private land. The relevant Government departments will implement open space on public land (including the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park under works) according to population growth and subject to the availability of public resources.  The development timetable of the small area of open space on private land depends on the development of relevant private projects.  The Government has no plan for the time being to develop this small area of open space through land resumption.  Annex 1 also lists out the total area of green belt in various districts and the area of private land thereof.

(b)  Annex 2 sets out information on open space that the HKPSG suggests to provide for various districts, as well as information on existing and planned open space.  The figure on existing open space includes the "Open Space" on Outline Zoning Plans which have already been implemented according to the planned use, as asked about in part (a) of the question.  As shown from the information, out of the 18 districts in the territory, currently only the Wan Chai and Central and Western Districts are short of open space which should have been provided.  However, if we count in the open space to be built, the total area of open space of the two districts will exceed the area suggested under the HKPSG.  In this regard, we have, based on the planned population of the Central and Western and Wan Chai Districts, planned and reserved sufficient land for open space in the two districts (including Central Reclamation Phase III, the waterfront open space in Wan Chai North, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Phase II and a park under the Hopewell Centre II Hotel Development project).

Ends/Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:26