Land exchange to protect wetlands proposed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2000, 12:00am

Environmentalists have put forward a land-for-land exchange option in an effort to prevent private developers from encroaching on protected ecological zones.

Owners of land in wetland areas should be given land of comparable size elsewhere in exchange for surrendering the right to build flats in the wetland, the Conservancy Association has proposed.

Concerns arose recently when the Government gave Cheung Kong (Holdings) approval for a large-scale housing estate project at Fung Lok Wai, near Mai Po Marsh.

The project, the first of its kind inside the Wetland Conservation Area, will include 20-storey buildings. Some green groups fear the buildings might disturb birds' free flight.

Conservancy Association chairman Dr Gordon Ng Ting-leung said: 'We respect private property rights, but we consider conservation a matter of public good.

'We propose the Government give developers another piece of land elsewhere in exchange for their development rights in the wetland.

'It is far better to allow developers to build taller buildings elsewhere than to construct incompatible 20-storey blocks in the middle of a rural area fronting the wetland.' Dr Ng said the exchange proposal was a sustainable approach.

'The needs of both developments and conservation can be catered for at the same time,' he said.



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