Utility move 'could curb smog'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2002, 12:00am

New power stations and other polluting public utilities should be built well away from residential areas to keep the air clean, a government planning study suggests.

Utility plants already in residential areas could also be moved to more remote areas.

The proposals, which come in a week that has seen smog reach dangerous levels, will be among the issues highlighted in the second stage of the 'Hong Kong 2030: Vision and Strategy' study by the Planning Department.

The study aims to lay out land use to cope with economic and social changes between now and 2030.

Summaries of the consultation report will be posted on the department's Web site on Monday before a consultation forum on January 26.

It is understood the study addressed the issue of the present replacement of public utilities such as power stations and incinerators near residential areas. The report identified one possible way forward over the next 30 years would be to group utilities together to minimise pollution in residential areas.

Moving the utilities would create more space for residential developments in metropolitan areas.

Yesterday, the South China Morning Post reported that among the issues highlighted for public consultation was a proposed 'land bank' to allocate sites to foreign consortiums.

The land bank aims to increase the SAR's attractiveness to foreign investors. It followed the withdrawal by Hambrecht and Quist Asia Pacific in November 2000 from plans to set up a $9.2 billion Silicon Harbour chip-making plant. Talks with the Government fell through because of a failure to provide land and concessions. The firm moved its project to Shanghai.