Speech at Panel on Environmental Affairs

Review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance process

Centralised Environmental Database

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Administration planned to develop an open Centralised Environmental Database (“CED”), which would encompass all environmental data, including information on ecology and other environmental aspects from EIA studies and the Government. The data could be used by consultants in EIA studies. Members called on the Administration to expedite the development of CED, and asked why the Administration had not developed such a database in the past.

The Administration explained that it had been maintaining databases on environmental data, and such data could be provided to consultants on request for their reference in EIA studies. To enhance the efficiency of EIA studies, the Administration’s current plan was to develop an open CED to integrate environmental data with geographical information, which would enable quick retrieval of environmental data of specific areas/locations.

Assessment of air quality, ecological impact, fisheries impact and carbon emissions

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked about the reasons for the Environmental Protection Department (“EPD”) to carry out territory-wide air quality baseline model runs and publish the results via CED.

The Administration explained that at present, air quality modelling runs were conducted by consultants individually. As air quality modelling was a complex scientific task, it often took a rather long time to complete the task for an EIA study even if a supercomputer was used. To tackle this issue, EPD was planning to carry out territory-wide air quality baseline model runs and publish the results via CED on a time series. Consultants might then simply run the localized air pollution dispersion models and overlay onto the model results provided by EPD. This would significantly reduce the time needed for air quality assessment while maintaining accuracy.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the Administration would consider introducing carbon emission assessment into EIA studies. The Administration responded that it was more desirable to conduct carbon emission assessments independently of the EIAO process for more flexible and effective assessments.