Tuen Mun landfill

HK government fails to pass controversial landfill extension proposals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 7:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 8:54pm

The Hong Kong government has failed to obtain funding for its controversial proposals to extend two landfills after lawmakers on Friday deferred indefinitely a debate on them.

At Friday’s finance committee meeting, lawmakers in the Legislative Council narrowly passed the motions to halt a debate, soon after it started, on the government’s funding requests for the Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling landfill extension projects.

The two motions to stop the debate were passed by 32 to 28 and 31 to 29. Both motions had been raised by Liberal Party’s James Tien Pei-chun.

Friday’s developments mean that all three of the government’s landfill extension proposals have failed to pass in Legco. Officials had earlier withdrawn a proposal to extend the Tseung Kwan O dump due to strong objections in the area.

The two funding proposals defeated on Friday involved HK$35 million intended to launch a feasibility study to expand the Tuen Mun landfill and HK$7 billion to begin the landfill extension project at the Ta Kwu Ling site.

The government can retable the three proposals no earlier than October when the summer recess ends.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing has said the expansions are urgently needed as existing waste facilities will be exhausted in the coming years.

But the extension proposals met strong opposition from residents and district councillors, especially those in Tuen Mun, because of environmental and nuisance concerns.

The government’s proposals were put at risk in Legco when a number of usually pro-government legislators vowed to oppose them.

In a rare move, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday went to a Tuen Mun Distirct Council meeting in a last-minute effort to shore up support for the plan, but she failed to persuade the council to support it.