Plea to put depot on hold

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 1995, 12:00am

GROUNDWORK for an aviation fuel depot at Sha Chau suffered a setback yesterday when a group of legislators demanded work be frozen.

The legislators said they wanted to make the Government take into account an environmental study which is still under way.

The four legislators, Christine Loh Kung-wai, Peter Wong Hong-yuen, Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, and Man Sai-cheong, had heard objections from Friends of the Earth and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

'As far as we are concerned work should never have started on the project while objections were still being raised,' Mrs Chow said.

'The outcome of the EIA [environmental impact assessment] had not been properly decided and there is no reason they needed to start any work this early.' The group will also demand answers from the Provisional Airport Authority (PAA) about which alternative sites have been explored.

They demanded PAA director of corporate affairs, Clinton Leeks, appear before the Legco Environmental Panel next week to explain why drilling had taken place. Mr Leeks said he would be happy to meet legislators.

'Sha Chau is the best option, but I want to stress the consultative process is still under way and no final decision has been made,' he said.

The PAA began preliminary site testing in December but all drilling stopped two weeks ago.

The waters surrounding Sha Chau are home to the only known group of endangered Chinese pink dolphins. During the drilling dolphin experts noticed the animals' behaviour became erratic and stressed. After it stopped their behaviour returned to normal.

On Monday, the sub-committee of the Advisory Council on the Environment rejected the PAA's Sha Chau site.