Third runway fears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2011, 12:00am


The global conservation body WWF is calling on the Airport Authority to halt public consultation on the planned construction of a third runway until more information is revealed.

The group met the authority last week to demand more details. It wants studies on issues, such as the likely impact on Chinese white dolphins and the area's marine ecosystem. The request was denied, WWF said.

WWF Hong Kong's chief executive Eric Bohm dismissed the process of public consultation, which will continue until September 2, as a propaganda exercise with a foregone conclusion.

'The magnitude of the taxpayers' investment and [the project's] scale warrants a better basis for analysis than this case of smoke and mirrors by the Airport Authority,' he said.

William Yu Yuen-ping, head of WWF Hong Kong's climate programme, slammed the authority for not revealing the projected increases in aviation emissions.

The authority announced the expansion plan last month, saying the existing runways will reach full capacity by 2020.

Green groups have been up in arms about the impact on the environment.

The project would mean a permanent loss of 650 hectares of marine habitat.

WWF's own research shows that a new runway would also create an additional 18.1 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year in the city. This is a 75.7 per cent surge when compared with 2008, it says.

Bohm said research clearly shows that the environmental implications would be high.

'In view of the Airport Authority's refusal to provide additional analysis following the consultation, and before any decision is made, WWF has little option but to call for consultation to be stopped until the full cost details are available,' he said.