Chief executive urges support for landfill extensions amid rising opposition
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Tuesday urged lawmakers and Tuen Mun residents to support plans to extend to two landfill sites after pro-government legislators geared up their efforts to block the government’s funding request for one of the projects.
Speaking before attending an Executive Council meeting, Leung said it was necessary for Hong Kong to expand the two existing landfills, one in Tuen Mun and the other in Ta Kwu Ling.
Leung added that even with renewed efforts to reduce waste at source, the extensions would be needed by the city to cope with its waste.
The plan to launch a feasibility study on extending the Tuen Mun facility has particularly met strong opposition, with New Territories leader and pro-government lawmaker Lau Wong-fat vowing to garner the support necessary to block it. Lau is also a big landowner in the area near the Tuen Mun landfill site.
Leung, in an apparent bid to address the concerns, said what the government was seeking now was funding for a feasibility study and there would be time to study how to reduce the nuisance caused by an enlarged landfill.
“The project to extend the landfill will not begin instantly. It will instead start with a study on how to extend it, and on what we can do to minimise its impact on Tuen Mun residents,” he said, adding that this exercise would take two years.
Leung’s remarks came ahead of a Legislative Council finance committee meeting this Friday to discuss the funding request for the remaining two of the government’s three landfill extension projects.
The administration last week withdrew one for the Tseung Kwan O site amid strong opposition.
Christine Loh, the undersecretary for the Environment, said on Tuesday that government officials would discuss the landfill extension plans with lawmakers and Tuen Mun residents ahead of Friday’s meeting.
On Tuesday as well, the Civil Party urged the government to withdraw its funding request for the Tuen Mun extension. The party has six seats in Legco.