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The Effectiveness of Hong Kong's Nature Conservation Policy
In 2004 the Government promulgated its New Nature Conservation Policy. Today, Monday, 30 March 2009, the Government reports on its progress (click here for the paper).

The analyses below shows that limited nature conservation objectives have been met since 2004, and that measures in conserving areas of ecological importance remain inadequate.

Promised by Government in 2004

Progress 2004 to 2009

A new policy statement with clearer terms

‘No-net Loss Policy' denied for Clear Water Bay Country Park

5 hectares of land will be excised for a landfill without adding land elsewhere to the park

AFCD is establishing a comprehensive ecological database

No progress reported

Scoring system and Expert Team set up; 12 priority sites identified; Expert Team will be consulted on additional sites when more or new ecological information becomes available

No meeting since agreement on 12 priority sites in 2004

AFCD will review the existing land use zonings to decide whether there is scope for reviewing permitted uses to better conserve the sites

No progress reported

Existing nature conservation measures, including designation of country parks, special areas, marine parks, marine reserves and conservation zonings (Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Conservation Area (CA), Coastal Protection Area (CPA)) and implementation of conservation plans on important habitats will continue and be enhanced where appropriate

Few areas designated since 2004 Click here for paper with full list

Plans for few areas to be designated
Lung Kwun Tang Valley to become SSSI
Hui Hau Wan to become SSSI
Geopark areas outside protected areas to become special areas or marine parks

Areas lost/ expected to be impacted
Clear Water Bay Country Park to SENT
Marine habitat to roads and border facilities in North Lantau

Zoning requested (not implemented)
CA zoning of section of Sham Chung

Other conservation efforts (including implementation plans for specific species).

Fishing continues in Marine Parks
Illegal collection of incense trees
Street lighting in Sai Kung Country Park

Measures proposed in 2003 consultation (similar to those in the 1991 town planning review) including land resumption, land exchange, off-site mitigation options and transfer of development rights are deemed impracticable or not applicable and keeping these options open may raise false hopes and impede implementation of Management Agreements and PPPs

Only 3 Management Agreements and nil PPPs have been implemented since 2004. Click here for the 2009 report.

Over 40 environmental destructions of nature on private and Government land have been reported between August 2006 and March 2009 by concern groups and media.
Click here for paper with full list

In addition, many other destructions, including waste dumping and illegal developments/land uses, took place since 2004. In 2007-2008 alone, there were 156 unauthorised landfill complaints and 1,935 illegal dumping complaints

Management Agreement pilot schemes for 12 priority sites.

2 pilot schemes started in 2005
Fung Yuen (Tai Po Environment Ass)
Long Valley (CA and Bird Watching Soc)

No new schemes announced since

PPP pilot schemes for 12 priority sites

1 pilot scheme is under consideration but does not comply with environmental protection measures Click here to find out why Sha Lo Tung does not comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance

All other
PPP schemes are impracticable. Applications for 5 other sites were made but 1 withdrawn, 3 not supported, 1 silent following land-related issues

Public education will be strengthened

No additional funding confirmed
AFCD programs continued

Establishment of a nature conservation trust will be explored.

No progress reported

Designing Hong Kong has requested the Government and LegCo for a review of the Nature Conservation Policy and to consider the following measures (Click here for full submission)

1. The setting up of a comprehensive ecological database with an ongoing review of land and water for their ecological (and geological) values and sensitivity;

Expanding the land use zoning and the review of existing zoning to better conserve sites;

3. The banning of all fishing in marine parks, a significant expansion of no-take zones and the introduction of a licensing regime for commercial fishing;

4. The review of land policies, specifically the Small House Policy, and the use of land resumption, land exchange, off-site mitigation and transfer of development rights to better conserve sites;

5.  A ‘no net loss’ policy for country parks;

6. One single office for enforcement coordination to protect private and government land from despoliation;

7. To determine whether MAs and PPPs are practicable tools given their limited success to date and how obstacles can be overcome to ensure their success;

8. To commence consultation on the setting up of a nature conservation trust.
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