Judicial review re Shek Kwu Chau incinerator

Judicial review re Shek Kwu Chau waste incinerator plans just underway. First two reports in S China Morning Post:

Environmental report on Shek Kwu Chau incinerator fell short, court told
Austin Chiu

The environmental impact report for a massive offshore waste incinerator failed to meet the requirements of a technical memorandum and a study brief from the government, a court heard yesterday.
Lawyer Valentine Yim See-tai made the assertion in the Court of First Instance as a legal challenge to the HK$23 billion project on Shek Kwu Chau, an island south of Lantau, began.
Yim is representing Leung Hon-wai, 66, a resident of nearby Cheung Chau island, in a judicial review challenging decisions by the Town Planning Board and the director of the Environmental Protection Department, which cleared the way for the incinerator's construction.
Johnny Mok SC, for the government, said the report had met requirements.
Outside court, Leung said: "My family has been living on Cheung Chau for eight generations. We are particularly worried about the air quality and pollution likely to be caused by the incinerator. It is close to the community. We would have no objection if it was elsewhere."
Leung is one of four people who lodged a judicial challenge to the project. His was selected to proceed and the other applicants will be bound by the decision.
Yim said that one ground for the challenge was the department's failure to explain, as required, any measures to remedy the loss of an ecologically important 31-hectare marine habitat, home to finless porpoises.
"Our complaint is that the technical memorandum requires that the offsite mitigation measures be made during the environmental impact assessment; now they say 'let's deal with it in the further study'," he said. "There should not be another report. It should have been done in the same round."
Yim acknowledged that the government had said it would produce a study on establishing a marine park before construction began, adding that this still fell short of requirements.
The report should have included the profile and location of the proposed park, he said.
Yim said the report also failed to explain why no alternatives to an incinerator were considered and no full study of the health effects of various waste-disposal technologies conducted.
"If they discarded alternatives, they should make it clear so people would know they were discarded. If there is no proper assessment, there could be dire consequences," Yim said.


Lawyer slams government impact report on offshore incinerator
Austin Chiu

It was a breach of natural justice for head of environment department to approve review that gave green light to incinerator, court told
It was unreasonable for the Environmental Protection Department director to approve an impact-assessment report made by his own department on the proposed building of a massive offshore waste incinerator, a court heard yesterday.
Barrister Hector Pun Hei made the criticism on behalf of a Cheung Chau resident, who brought a judicial review against the HK$23 billion project on Shek Kwu Chau, an island south of Lantau.
In the Court of First Instance, Pun, one of the lawyers representing 66-year-old Leung Hon-wai, said it involved a conflict of interest when the director granted the permit that allowed the proposal to go ahead.
"It is a breach of natural justice to make a person a judge in his own cause," Pun said.
Leung is challenging decisions by the Town Planning Board and the director of the Environmental Protection Department, which cleared the way for the incinerator's construction. He is one of four people who lodged a judicial challenge. His was selected to proceed and the other applicants will be bound by the decision.
Johnny Mok SC, for the government, rejected a criticism by Leung's lawyers that the environmental-impact assessment report did not meet the requirements specified in a technical memorandum and a study brief from the administration.
On Wednesday, Leung's lawyer contended that the report was substandard, because the department deferred looking at how it would remedy the permanent loss of a 31-hectare marine habitat of high ecological value. That problem was to be considered in a supplementary study.
Yesterday, Mok said that while the department was not allowed to make another environmental-impact report, a supplementary study that sought to help with the "technical implementation" of the measures must be permitted.
Mok said the environmental-impact assessment already included, as required, a study on the feasibility and effectiveness of establishing a 700-hectare marine park to make up for the loss of the existing habitat, which was home to finless porpoises.
The supplementary study would deal with the marine park's ecological profile, extent and location.
"It would be strange if there was no further study," Mok said. "The fact that a small corner of a vast stretch of water where finless porpoises swim is cut out doesn't mean a massive loss. You have to consider the bigger picture."
He also said it was wrong for the other side to suggest that the department did not conduct any studies on the establishment of the marine park, citing reports from various departments from 2002 and last year.
"This is a careful regime designed to protect the valuable species," Mok said, referring to the creation of the marine park.
The hearing continues today before Mr Justice Au Hing-cheung.


After second article, I sent following to Loy Ho, one of the four involved in judicial review:
In case you're in touch with Hector Pun during case:

I see in SCM Post
Mok said. "The fact that a small corner of a vast stretch of water where finless porpoises swim is cut out doesn't mean a massive loss. You have to consider the bigger picture."

Mok is being disingenuous here; survey results show west Shek Kwu Chau waters important for the porpoise; may swim through "vast area", but mainly live in only small parts of it.
See attached, from surveys by Samuel Hung.

Might ask why did EIA present misleading and wrong map of porpoise distribution in main section. [wrong especially as does not include waters east of Po Toi; as I recall, had to go to appendix to see real situation]
Why does EIA not highlight fact this species is classed by IUCN as globally Vulnerable to extinction?

I haven't seen in newspaper: Where did EIA get figures for incinerator air quality from?
Were there tests with Hong Kong waste?
If not, assertions regarding air quality just guesswork?

[there's more too re air pollution: why ignore incinerators in Shenzhen, say?]

 

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