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Lamma power scheme attacked

Lamma Island

LEADING environmentalists have criticised plans to build a $16 billion power station on Lamma Island.

Hongkong Electric wants to build two 600-megawatt generating units next to its existing 2,955-megawatt plant on Lamma, with the first unit being commissioned by 2003.

Friends of the Earth director Mei Ng Fong Siu-mei said: 'I think Hong Kong people would be getting a very bad deal.

'The environment would be getting a very bad deal.' She accused the utility companies of over-estimating the territory's future energy demand, saying they had never justified their estimates.

Principal assistant secretary (economic services) Eric Johnson confirmed a government-commissioned consultancy report was completed a few days ago.

But he denied the Government had given its blessing to the utility company's proposal to build the two generating units.

Three proposals had been floated as the site for the new power plant - on reclaimed land at the southeast corner of Po Toi Island, on a reclaimed island to the west between Lamma and Cheung Chau, or near the existing power plant on Lamma Island.

Mr Johnson said he expected the Government would arrive at a decision within the next couple of months after making further consultations with the territory's two power companies.

Dr Lam Pun-lee, Assistant Professor of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Department of Business Studies, questioned whether the territory really needed a new generator when China Light & Power had surplus capacity.

He suggested Hongkong Electric consider purchasing electricity from China Light & Power or examine the possibility of importing the more environmentally friendly energy source, natural gas, from southern China.

Both Lam Wai-keung, chairman of the Islands District Board, and Fong Kam-hung, of Lamma and Po Toi constituency, were unavailable for comment on the issue yesterday.