Bid to block artificial beach in court

Greens will seek a judicial review as they try to stop the Tai Po development from going ahead

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 4:14am

A coalition of green groups is to lodge a judicial review in the High Court today against the man-made beach project on the Tai Po coast that could go under construction as soon as next week.

The Save Lung Mei Alliance planned to submit the application yesterday, but it was delayed while they "confirm the final wording of a key document". They say Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the Executive Council and the head of the Environmental Protection Department failed to revoke a permit to build the beach, even though the environmental impact study was proven to be misleading. It was shown to be more detrimental to public health and the ecosystem than expected at the time the permit was issued, the alliance said.

The Executive Council last week said there were no grounds to revoke the permit.

"[They] have sufficient grounds … but obviously they've chosen not to," said alliance member Peter Li Siu-man.

Official data has indicated the water at Lung Mei is unfit for swimming, as the concentration of E coli bacteria was 1,600 per 100 millilitres of water, which is considered "very poor" compared with a safe level of 180 per 100ml.

"The evidence is strong enough. We're positive we will have the leave for judicial review granted," said Ho Loy, another alliance member. She applied for legal aid last week but it has not yet been approved.

Preparatory work on the project is due to begin as early as Tuesday, the alliance said. "We hope the government will postpone construction … this so-called conservation work is actually a massacre of marine life," Li said. The alliance did not rule out confronting workers at the site to protect it if construction begins.

Over 200 marine species, including the rarely found spotted seahorses, have been recorded by volunteers at the site's rocky tidal habitat - far more than the number in the impact study.