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LCQ10: Statistics on and rezoning of Green Belt sites

Following is a question by the Hon Jeremy Tam and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (January 24):

Question:

 In recent years, the Government has implemented a series of measures to increase land supply through a multi-pronged approach so as to meet the land demand in respect of housing as well as economic and social development in Hong Kong. One of the measures is to rezone "Green Belt" (GB) sites for other uses. However, there are comments that not only will this measure damage the ecological environment, but it may also be not cost-effective. Regarding the statistics on and the rezoning of GB sites, will the government inform this Council of:

(1) the total area of GB sites in each District Council district and the year-on-year change in each of the past five years (to be set out in a table);

(2) the number of GB sites the rezoning of which for other uses was approved by the Town Planning Board in each of the past five years; the total area of such sites and, among them, the respective numbers of those sites which were (i) devegetated, deserted or formed, and (ii) vegetated, before rezoning (to be set out in a table); and

(3) the respective numbers and total area of the existing GB sites which are (i) vegetated and (ii) devegetated?

Reply:

President,

As part of the multi-pronged land supply strategy, through on-going land use reviews in the last few years, the Government has identified over 210 sites with potential for housing development in the short to medium term, including 77 "Green Belt" (GB) sites identified from the two-stage GB review and other land use reviews. The first stage of GB review mainly covered GB areas which were formed, deserted or devegetated, but possessed potential for residential development. The second stage of GB review covered GB zones in the fringe of built-up areas close to existing urban areas and new towns, and those vegetated areas with relatively less buffering effect and lower conservation value. As with other sites rezoned for housing purposes, in proposing rezoning of GB sites, the government will according to the established mechanism and criteria assess a host of factors, including transport and infrastructure capacity, provision of community facilities, development constraints, potential impacts on the local environment, visual and air ventilation impacts, etc. to ensure that there will not be insurmountable impact to the local community, while providing objective information to devise appropriate mitigation measures.

My reply to various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) As at December 31, 2017, the total area of GB sites on statutory plans is about 16 342 hectares (ha). The breakdown in the past five years by District Councils is set out at Annex.

(2) From 2013 to 2017, a total of about 318 ha of land zoned GB on statutory plans have been rezoned to other uses, including 33 sites (covering about 73 ha) rezoned for housing development that were identified through the two stages of GB review and other land use reviews, and other GB sites rezoned to "Government, Institution or Community", "Open Space", "Conservation Area", "Country Park", area shown as "Road", and other uses. The conditions of the original GB sites before rezoning (including their vegetation cover) and other considerations would be set out in the submissions to the Town Planning Board. We have not collated separate statistics on the extent of vegetation for these sites before rezoning.

(3) We do not have the statistical information regarding the number and area of vegetated or devegetated cover of the existing GB sites.

Ends/Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:30

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