Study won't stop wall effect, says Civic Party

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:00am

A study of the local wind environment to identify climatically sensitive areas in Hong Kong for air ventilation assessment will be completed in 2009, says the housing minister.

But the Civic Party says this will be too late to stop the wall effect created by huge developments now being planned or built.

The party yesterday urged the government to immediately extend the air ventilation study to projects under the Urban Renewal Authority and railway companies.

Replying to the Civic Party's suggestions on April 18 on ways to stop wall effects created by high-rises, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said that while government developments would be required to conduct air ventilation studies, private developers would be encouraged to conduct them on a voluntary basis.

But the bureau said more guidance would be given to developers and relevant professions when the study on Urban Climatic Map and Standards for Wind Environment is completed in 2009.

The study, started in July last year, aims to identify climatically sensitive areas, assess impacts of major developments on the local wind environment and refine the scope of application of the air ventilation assessment. It is being conducted by the Chinese University.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said she was disappointed with the government's reply. 'If the government continues to auction the lands without immediate reviews on their density, it will only lead to more walls built in our community.'

She urged the government to adopt the party's 12 suggestions to stop creating wall effects, such as requesting the Urban Renewal Authority and rail operators to conduct air ventilation studies for their developments, and to review all large-scale projects which were approved but yet to be developed to improve their designs in a more environmentally friendly way.

The party also asked Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to honour his promise made during the chief executive election debate last month to review the development density of each district.

More than 30 residents living in Yau Ma Tei protested at the Lands Department yesterday, expressing their concerns that a development in Hoi Wang Road would block the sea breeze from the harbour. A study released by Green Sense on Sunday found high rises likely to be built on 12 plots may cause a wall effect.

The residents urged the department to reduce the development density of the site from a plot ratio of 7.5 to 5 before the site is auctioned, and to maintain the wind corridor in Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei.

They also called on the administration to request the developer to conduct an air ventilation study. The site is to be gazetted today for auction early next month.

According to the existing regulations, only sites of two hectares or larger or with a gross floor area of 10,000 square metres require a ventilation assessment.

Director of Planning Ava Ng Tse Suk-ying said on Monday that no assessment was required for the site in Hoi Wang Road because its area was only 0.8 of a hectare.

A spokeswoman for the Lands Department said that they had been notified of the Civic Party suggestions, but the department would not comment on the requests from the public.


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