Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (April 13):
Recently, I have received complaints from some indigenous residents of villages near Tung Chung, pointing out that as the authorities prohibited the building of premises within the Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) 25 contour, thus after the commissioning of the new airport in 1998, their applications for building small houses at Kau Liu near the airport had not been processed, and they have not been granted any compensation so far. In view of the increase in the number of flights in recent years, the area exposed to aircraft noise may be extended; and upon the commissioning of the third runway, it is estimated that such area will be further extended. In this connection, will the Government:
(a) indicate on a map, the region within the NEF 25 contour delineated in 1998, and the area within the region where the building of small houses is prohibited;
(b) indicate on a map, the region within the NEF 25 contour delineated as of 31 March 2011, and the area within the region where the building of small houses is prohibited;
(c) indicate on a map, the projected region within the NEF 25 contour to be delineated upon the commissioning of the third runway, and the area within the region where the building of small houses is to be prohibited; and
(d) inform this Council of the reasons for not granting compensation to the indigenous villagers who were not granted approval to build small houses at that time; whether it will grant compensation to those villagers; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) contours, which are an aircraft noise-related standard in landuse planning, are used to define areas where certain noise sensitive land uses should not be located. During the initial planning of the Hong Kong International Airport, the Government had made reference to the assessments made by the Airport Authority (AA) with regard to the NEF contours, i.e. the coverage of the NEF 25 contour when aircrafts movements reach the maximum capacity of the airport, so as to avoid the location of noise sensitive land uses.
The NEF 25 contour published in 1998 is based on the maximum design capacity of the airport in forecasting the impact of aircraft noise on the areas in the vicinity of the airport.
The AA is formulating the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 on airport developments in the next twenty years, exploring different development strategies and options, including the feasibility of building a third runway, and conducting preliminary feasibility studies on these options. These studies include preliminary environmental impact assessment, which includes reviewing and updating the NEF 25 contour on the basis of the latest airport design capacity. The AA expects the public consultation on the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 to begin in the second quarter of 2011. The consultation paper and study report to be released by the AA will include the updated information, which needs to be further confirmed by the AA in the statutory environmental impact assessment to be conducted in the future.
(a) to (c) The coverage of the NEF 25 contour published in 1998 is shown at Annex.
(d) At present, only a portion of residents residing in the Sha Lo Wan Village in North Lantau are under the coverage of the NEF 25 contour published in 1998, and are deemed to be affected by aircraft noise exceeding the level set out in the planned land use. Prior to the commencement of the airport, the AA granted a one-off cash allowance to the affected residents of the Sha Lo Wan Village (the Village) for noise mitigation measures (e.g. installation of insulation facilities). Meanwhile, in response to small house demand from the relevant villagers, the Government has planned and reserved land within the "Village Type Development" Zone of the Village and which is not covered by the NEF 25 contour to cope with small house applications from the indigenous villagers of the Village.
Kau Liu mentioned in the question is not a recognised village under the New Territories Small House Policy, but is within the boundary of San Tau Village, a nearby recognised village. The relevant small house applications were made by indigenous villagers of San Tau Village.
Both Kau Liu and San Tau Village are not covered by the NEF 25 contour published in 1998. However, as the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030, which is being formulated, will review and update information regarding the NEF 25 contour, when processing small house applications from areas that may be affected, the Administration will continue to liaise with concerned departments and make reference to relevant information according to established practice.
Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:54