S China Morning Post's Lai See column today:
Hong Kong's green groups are playing hardball with the Airport Authority Hong Kong over efforts to get them to attend a Green NGO roundtable meeting with the AAHK to discuss environmental aspects of the proposed third runway. The airport authority, which is endeavouring to become the world's greenest airport, is desperate to get the green groups onside.
However, a meeting scheduled for Tuesday has had to be postponed until next month following concerns expressed by eight green groups in a letter to the AAHK.
Their letter points to a "divergence of opinion" with deputy director Kevin Poole and others over what components should be included in a proposed social return on investment (SROI) study. The signatories have included the elements they want to see included and say: "We feel that it is essential to have your agreement on these fundamentals ahead of the roundtable meeting to ensure that we are all on the same page regarding the fundamental scope of such a study…"
The AAHK was initially opposed to such a study and even when the Legco environmental affairs panel called for it to be conducted together with a carbon audit, it maintained a deafening silence. However, since the green groups have dug their heels in on this, and the AAHK wants them onside to sustain its green credentials, it is reluctantly getting dragged into agreeing to do one.
An SROI conducted for the third runway at London's Heathrow airport concluded that Britain would be £5 billion (HK$62.6 billion) worse off if it was built, and contributed to the decision not to proceed with it.