CHINA is poised to voice concern over reclamation projects which reduce the size of the harbour, claiming they threaten marine safety, the environment and tourism. Senior officials from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office were worried about the reclamation projects launched by the Government on both sides of the harbour, sources revealed. The issue is expected to be formally discussed by the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) when its economic sub-group meets in Beijing this week. A local PWC member said the issue had been frequently raised during previous discussions. He said officials were worried the territory would damage one of its major tourist attractions. Chinese officials have also pointed to the increasing number of accidents in the harbour as water becomes choppier and the traffic has less space to manoeuvre. The PWC member said reclamation in urban areas would drive up property prices and the long-term solution was for the Government to look to new land outside urban areas. Previous reclamation has reduced the gap between the closest points on opposite sides of the harbour from 1,800 metres to 1,500 metres. Under a proposal submitted to the Town Planning Board, further reclamation will add 600 hectares of land to the harbour by 2011. The gap between the narrowest points will be reduced to about 800 metres. The PWC member admitted there was little they could do about projects that had already started, but said plans such as the proposed reclamation in Tsim Sha Tsui should be carefully considered. Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Tony Eason said: 'People forget that the reclamation projects they see have been announced and published. They are necessary and will not have impact on port capacity, safety or water quality.' Reclamation projects including those on Green Island, Kai Tak, and Central and Western were needed to meet demand, he said. Projects such as the Central and Western reclamation were extremely important for business. He said any public anxiety over reclamation was unnecessary and marine safety fears were exaggerated. Mr Eason, however, admitted that the scope for further reclamation in areas around the Central part of the territory was 'pretty limited'. Results of the latest territory development strategy study were expected to be completed in April, he said. Any new plans for reclamation will be published for public consultation.