Engineers offer to explain bridge report
Members of the public who found the environmental impact assessment report on the Hong KongZhuhai-Macau Bridge too difficult to understand were welcome to visit highways officials and seek explanation, a senior highways official said yesterday.
But extending the deadline for public consultation on the report was out of the question, the Islands District Council was told.
Highways Department chief engineer Bok Kwok-ming said at a special meeting with councillors yesterday that he understood some local politicians' concerns about the lack of a Chinese version of the report.
'The report was written in English because it includes much technical jargon,' he said. 'But those who have difficulty understanding the report can visit our office to read it and our engineers will be happy to explain it to them.'
The multivolume report has been available to read online at the Environmental Protection Department's website since August 14 and will be until September 12.
However, Ophelia Lam Yau-han, a district councillor, said: 'No matter how proficient one is in the English language, the heavy volumes of the report are just too hard to digest within 28 days.'
At the centre of controversy about the report are assumptions behind projections about the effects on the city's air quality of traffic on the bridge, connecting roads and a giant border crossing area that would be built east of the airport.
The report concluded that air-quality effects were acceptable and satisfied existing statutory objectives. But councillors questioned whether new air-quality criteria, which the government is considering, should be adopted for the impact report.
'Given all these complexities, the report's consultation period should, at least, be extended for two more months,' Lam said.
But Terrence Tsang Sai-wing, a senior environmental protection officer, said such an extension was impossible under present law.