Developers have been urged to take greater responsibility for the environment by giving up land to roadside trees to accelerate urban renewal. Hong Kong University Professor Jim Chi-yung said developers would not lose money because plot ratios could be raised slightly. There are 24,000 roadside trees in urban Hong Kong and Kowloon. But Professor Jim said the Government and developers should grasp the chance presented by urban renewal and reclamation to provide more greenery. 'We must not only look at floor spaces and balance sheets - we must always try to make use of rare opportunities to improve the environment,' he said. He said a comprehensive integrated urban renewal involving government, developers and utility companies was needed to provide the space and environment for more trees. Professor Jim calculated that setting back a 107,600 square-foot development three metres from the road would allow a line of streetside trees and lose just three per cent of land. If persuasion failed, requirements for roadside trees should be incorporated into outline zoning plans under the Town Planning Ordinance, he said. 'It will definitely touch on a sensitive issue of developers' rights and some landowners may not be happy if we do it this way.' But he said trees injected a touch of tranquillity into frenetic city life, helped combat pollution and improved aesthetics. 'We can do better,' he said. 'Hong Kong is now known everywhere as an international city and international cities should not only excel in making money, they should also excel in other aspects.' A spokesman for Tsim Sha Tsui East Property Developers Association said it supported anything which would improve the environment. 'Of course, not at the expense of plot ratio,' the spokesman said, defending his company's 'commercial edge'.