A $40 million, two-year study aimed at creating 'sustainable development' has got off to a poor start after some environment groups complained that key issues were being ignored. Among the complaints are that no study is being made into whether there should be a limit to growth, such as attempting to limit population. Friends of the Earth spokesman Plato Yip Kwong-to said the group was 'disappointed' with the study, which the Government says will be used 'to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of the community'. The group has written to Deputy Director of Planning, Bosco Fung Chee-keung, disputing basic aspects of it. In addition, the group lodged a complaint against the Government's consultants, ERM, which it accuses of dismissing the achievements of environmental organisations. Mr Yip said the consultants had said at a meeting that 'green groups should stop complaining and be more practical'. Hong Kong-based Greenpeace China director Ho Wai-chi said his group was one of many that had contributed 'negative feedback'. He said Hong Kong's small size meant limits to growth had to be studied - even though other, larger, countries had not incorporated them. In general, sustainable development aims to ensure that economic development is not at the expense of future generations - for instance, by creating excessive pollution that will cost a fortune to clean up. The study should be completed by the end of next year. The resultant framework will be used to check all government policies, particularly planning, to ensure they are not building up problems. The concept gained currency at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the study has been commissioned by the Planning Department. The department's spokesman was not available for comment last night.