Following is a question by the Hon Ma Fung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, (in the absence of the Secretary for Development) in the Legislative Council today (March 27):
The estimated area of land to be formed in 2013-2014 by the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is only 16.5 hectares, which has been reduced by more than half of the 34.6 hectares formed in the preceding financial year. The actual areas of land formed by CEDD in each of the financial years from 2003-2004 to 2006-2007 were 134, 91, 87 and 74 hectares respectively. However, as the area of land formed in 2007-2008 dropped drastically to only 5 hectares, and the figure had remained on a rather low side since then, the total area of land formed in the six years between 2007-2008 and 2012-2013 was only 82.7 hectares, which is even lower than the average annual figure of the previous four years. Regarding the formation of more land to implement the various short to medium term measures proposed by the Chief Executive in this year's Policy Address to increase land supply, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the reasons why the estimated area of land to be formed in 2013-2014 reduces by more than half of the area formed in the preceding financial year;
(b) of the uses of the land formed in the financial years from 2007-2008 to 2012-2013, together with a breakdown of the areas of land by use;
(c) of the main reasons why the area of land formed in each financial year has dropped significantly since 2007-2008;
(d) how the authorities assess the impact of a significant reduction in the area of land formed on Hong Kong's land supply and land reserve, and whether the area of land formed is sufficient for implementing the measures to increase land supply put forward in this year's Policy Address; and
(e) whether it has any plans to increase the areas of land to be formed in the coming few years to the level achieved in or before 2005-2006; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
As stated in the 2013 Policy Address, the Government will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach to increase land supply in the short, medium and long term through optimal use of developed land and identification of new land for development, so as to meet the housing and other needs of Hong Kong people. In this connection, developing new land through land formation is one of the important sources of land supply in the long term. We are working vigorously in this direction with a view to developing more land resources and building up an abundant land reserve.
The reply of the Development Bureau to the various parts of the question is as follows:
(a) The area of land formed varies each year due to the progress and phased completion of the on-going infrastructure works. The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) estimated that the area of land formed in 2013 will be less than that in 2012 mainly because quite a number of on-going large-scale works projects involving land formation, such as the Remaining Development in Tseung Kwan O, had been substantially completed in 2012.
(b) The major works carried out by CEDD involving land formation from 2007 to 2012 included the Central Reclamation Phase III, Tai Po Development, Remaining Development in Tseung Kwan O, Development at Anderson Road, Ma On Shan Development and Wan Chai Development Phase II. Some of these projects are still in progress with new land to be formed in 2013.
The land formed by the works above and other projects are for different uses, including housing, government, institution or community, open space, roads, etc. The approximate areas of such land by their uses are set out below:
Land use (in hectares)*
Open space 22.5
Road and other uses 25.8
* The areas of land concerned are only rough estimates for the planned land uses upon project completion. The actual land areas eventually used for the relevant purposes may be adjusted.
(c) As mentioned in part (a) of the reply above, the area of land formed each year varies due to the progress and phased completion of the on-going infrastructure works. A number of large-scale works projects, including the back-up area of Container Terminal No. 9 in Tsing Yi, decommissioning of the former Kai Tak Airport terminal building at Kai Tak Development, developments at Jordan Valley and Ma Liu Shui, etc., were carried out before 2007 which formed large areas of land. On the other hand, long-term land supply projects, including the development of new development areas and reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour, are still at the planning stage and thus could not be reflected in the figures of formed land area. Meanwhile, as the developments of various new towns have reached a mature stage, the need for large-scale land formation is reduced, resulting in smaller areas of land formed in recent years.
(d) and (e) We would like to reiterate that the Government is committed to increasing land supply and will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach to develop land resources actively and build up a land reserve. With the progressive implementation of projects such as the New Development Areas in New Territories, Tung Chung New Town Extension and Kai Tak Development in the coming few years, we anticipate that a substantial area of land will need to be formed in future.
Besides, following the criteria for reclamation sites selection established in the Stage 1 Public Engagement on Enhancing Land Supply Strategy, we proposed five potential near-shore reclamation sites, including Lung Kwu Tan, Ma Liu Shui, Siu Ho Wan, Sunny Bay and Tsing Yi Southwest. The total area of reclamation is about 600 hectares (ha). We will also consider building artificial islands in the central waters between Hong Kong Island and Lantau. If these artificial islands are provided with convenient and cost-effective transportation linkages, they can be extended as new development areas from the current urban areas in the long run. Together with the near-shore reclamation area, they may provide a total of about 2 000 to 3 000 ha of land. Regarding rock cavern development, apart from the relocation of Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works to caverns, an initiative which is under study, we propose three public facilities, including Diamond Hill Fresh Water and Salt Water Service Reservoirs, Sai Kung Sewage Treatment Works and Sham Tseng Sewage Treatment Works for relocation to caverns with a view to releasing their current sites for other uses.
The Administration is consulting the public on the near-shore reclamation sites, artificial islands and rock cavern development with a view to commencing the detailed technical study as early as possible. As for the option of artificial islands, we plan to carry out a strategic study first to decide on the specific location for reclamation and traffic connections options for subsequent public consultation. The implementation of the above land supply initiatives will further increase the land supply and land reserve of Hong Kong.
Regarding the short to medium term, among the 10 measures proposed in the 2013 Policy Address, such as increasing the development density of residential sites as far as allowable in planning terms, and reviewing the land administration procedures and processes related to land grant and premium assessment, some are conducive to the increase of housing land supply in the short to medium term without the need for land formation. Therefore, the area of land formed could not reflect the continued efforts of the Government in increasing land supply.
Ends/Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:30