PlanD's and CEDD's response on NENT NDA Study

In response to media enquiries on the North East New Territories New Development Areas (NENT NDAs) Planning and Engineering Study, a spokesperson for the Planning Department (PlanD) and the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) said today (August 29) that the Government would endeavour to provide affected farmers in the area with opportunities for agricultural rehabilitation.

The spokesperson said, "It is inevitable that some of the existing farmers would be affected by the NDA development. According to the Consultants' site survey, there are about 55 hectares of land in the NDAs under active cultivation, of which some 22 hectares would be affected. The Government would endeavour to ensure that the affectees would be offered reasonable arrangements under a fair and equitable mechanism."

"The Kwu Tung North NDA adopts 'Mixed Development Node' as the development theme. The Long Valley area is designated as a Nature Park (about 37 hectares) where, under Government's management, wet agriculture practice could be allowed. In addition, two pieces of land to the north and south of the Nature Park (about 45 hectares) and a piece of land in Fu Tei Au in the Fanling North NDA (about 9 hectares) are proposed to be maintained as 'Agriculture' ("AGR") zone, in which existing farming practice could continue," he said.

The affected farmers could purchase or rent farmland at suitable locations for agricultural rehabilitation under the prevailing land policy. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will provide assistance in renting land for agriculture. It possesses information on some fallow agricultural land and would assist in lining up interested farmers with land owners to discuss rental arrangements. At present, about 3,280 hectares of land in Hong Kong are zoned "AGR". According to the information provided by AFCD, about 730 hectares are under cultivation.

AFCD has also been offering various forms of assistance to the farmers, including supporting facilities, technical know-how, low interest loans and marketing, etc. to support and promote the development of local agriculture.

The spokesperson added that the main objective of the NENT NDAs Study is to address the housing and employment demand arising from population growth. According to the latest population projections, there will be an increase of about 1.4 million people in the coming 30 years. There is still a strong demand for land for housing and economic development. The NENT NDAs will provide about 150 hectares of housing land supply, and approximately 53,800 new public and private residential units for about 150,000 people. The proposed 23,100 public rental units are scheduled to be completed in phases from 2022 onwards. The Government would identify suitable sites from the proposed private housing sites for new Home Ownership Scheme developments.

Ends/Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:52