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Government Responds to No Pollution Solution (For Tung Chung)

Not unlike a small child losing an argument, Government has resorted to screaming loudly with an anonymous full page colour advertisement in the South China Morning Post on April 30, 2009. The advertisement, a 'sponsored feature', heralds the bridge as a major landmark and technological feat ahead of seeking funding approval by the Legislative Council.



Government confirms that the HKZMB is NOT integrated with the airport

The Director of Highways Wai Chi-sing explains in the advertisement that he is only looking ‘at the possibility’ of connecting the HKZMB with the airport. He makes it clear that the airport's existing automated people mover will NOT be used. Passengers will be forced to change transport several times before they reach their planes.

Highways and not the Lantau Development Taskforce is in charge

The advertisement makes no reference to the Financial Secretary and his Lantau Development Taskforce. There is little to suggest that there is a sustainable master plan for Lantau. The advertisement fails to show how all the different plans work together, such as the Tung Chung new town extension which will be very close to the border crossing, the new HK-Zhenzhen Express Rail, the logistics centre, and others.

The advertisement celebrates that 50,000 vehicles will use the new bridge every day, but it does not explain how we control their use of Hong Kong's congested roads, or whether there will be an MTR station at the new border facility to take visitors straight into town.

OTHER RESPONSES

Hong Kong Dolphin Watch rejects Government’s claim that putting the BCF on the west will lessen the impact on dolphins

Referring to “Saving the pink dolphins” in the advertisement on 30 April 2009, Dolphin Watch says it is astounded by the claim by the Director of Highways that the location of border crossing facilities on the west avoids obstructing the dolphins’ swimming between feeding grounds.

They point out that the planned alignment of the roads and border crossing facility will cut the dolphins off from all their various feeding grounds.

They found the proposal to “temporarily halt” work “if dolphins were spotted too close to building work” unpractical as dolphins are not visible until they are at the surface.

Green Lantau Association supports the border crossing facility west, and the link road north of the airport



The Green Lantau Association (GLA) has decided the Sustainable Development Tung Chung Alliance and their proposal to put the border crossing facilities (BCF) on the west, and the link road north of the airport:

1. The proposal preserves the Airport Channel as a clear water body that mitigates aviation-related impacts on the natural North Lantau coastline and the Lantau North Country Park further inland;

2. By accommodating the BCF between the runways at the western end of the Airport Island the reclamation would partly lean on the existing airport island, hence minimizing the need for the provision of retaining walls and armoured rock;

3. As it would become an integrated extension of the existing airport island, the visual impact of the BCF would be relatively small as long as the question of glare is adequately addressed;

4. The impact on the dolphin habitat would probably be smaller than that generated by a self-standing facility on the east;

5. It enables the re-routing of the HZMB link road to the north of the airport island away from the North-Lantau coastline, which is a very definite advantage in terms of landscape preservation as well as noise and air pollution reduction;

6. It would be sufficiently distant from Sha Lo Wan and Sham Wat Wan and minimize noise disturbance;

7. It would reduce visual, air quality and noise impacts on Tung Chung while not greatly increasing those same impacts in areas to the west of the airport.

Industrialist claims the road bridge should have been a rail link

A local industrialist who ships three containers a week from Zhongshan makes it clear that even the HK$100 toll will not convince him to use the new bridge for cargo. He says that there is a good and cheap feeder vessel infrastructure along the West PRD. He also claims that new bridges (including between Humen and  Shekou) are being planned for mainland trucks to take cargo directly from the West PRD to Shenzhen at little cost. He concludes that the HKZMB will become a passenger bridge replacing ferries and that the link should therefore have been planned as a rail tunnel.

(Editor: That may well be right and a position we have long supported. However the road bridge has been decided upon. Therefore our focus should be on mitigation and the supporting infrastructure Hong Kong is planning to build.)
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