A series of incentives to encourage environmentally friendly architecture and protect historic buildings has been announced.
Secretary for Planning and Lands Gordon Siu Kwing-chue said the Government hoped to create a culture in the community and the building industry leading to safer and greener designs. Details of the incentives will be announced next month.
A brochure illustrating what the plan hoped to encourage showed 'sky gardens' - buildings covered in greenery with roof gardens, surrounded by trees.
It was hoped the programme would prompt greater use of natural wind to save air-conditioning power, broad windows to save on lighting costs and the use of solar energy, Mr Siu said.
Director of Buildings Leung Chin-man said innovative green building designs could be approved faster. He said incentives would be introduced to encourage developers to exempt balconies and other 'green facilities' from the gross floor area used to calculate an apartment's price.
Developers adopting green construction methods - such as those resulting in reduced construction waste - would be rewarded by having more gross floor areas approved.
Also announced was a plan to allow developers to surrender historic buildings for the right to construct higher buildings on their other properties.
Friends of the Earth assistant director Plato Yip Kwong-to last night welcomed the first step towards green buildings, but said the Government should have a comprehensive policy rather than piecemeal incentives.
Use of the Tamar site in Admiralty is to be reviewed by the Government. It was retrieved from a land sale in early 1998 because of a sagging property market.