Border checkpoints are to open for longer to ease growing passenger and vehicle congestion. The agreement was one of a series reached during a half-day meeting of the Hong Kong and Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong team leader Anson Chan Fang On-sang said the meeting had provided the basis for further co-operation. 'We feel we have established a very sound basis to strengthen co-operation between the two sides and in this way we can improve the benefits for both sides,' the Chief Secretary for Administration said. Guangdong Vice-Governor Wang Qishan was confident the prospects for co-operation were bright. The agreements reflected the common demand for economic and social links. The opening hours of the four land crossings will be extended by one to two hours. Goods vehicles will be allowed to choose crossing points for entry and exit. Five measures will be taken to promote tourism, including extending to Zhuhai the visa-free access arrangement for foreign tourists from Hong Kong entering Shenzhen. More registered travel agencies in Hong Kong will be allowed to organise such visa-free access package tours into Guangdong for foreign visitors. The committee endorsed a declaration on environmental protection and will push ahead with plans to improve the environment in Deep Bay, Mirs Bay and Pearl River Delta. An electronic network will be set up for the two governments to exchange information and e-mails to co-ordinate projects on information technology. Both sides agreed to establish a brainstorming group to study long-term technological co-operation and will explore ways to improve the environment for local businessmen with investment in Guangdong. Mr Wang said the short-term measures were backed by the central Government. NEIGHBOURLY PACT CHECKPOINT HOURS Lowu (now 7am to 11pm) 6.30am to 11.30pm, from October 15 Lok Ma Chau (now 6.30am to 9pm) 6.30am to 10pm, from October 15) Man Kam To (now 7am to 8pm) 7am to 10pm, from April 1, next year) Sha Tau Kok (now 7am to 6pm) 7am to 8pm (from April 1, next year) BOOSTING TOURISM Visa-free access for overseas visitors from Hong Kong entering Shenzhen extended to Zhuhai; visitors allowed to visit six other cities within Guangdong and depart from different points; More travel agencies allowed to organise visa-free access package tours to Guangdong; Allow non-Guangdong mainlanders in Shenzhen to join Group Tour Scheme to visit Hong Kong; Allow Hong Kong and Guangdong agencies to organise overseas tours for Guangdong residents; Relax quotas for tourist coaches carrying overseas visitors. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Implement plans to improve environment in Deep Bay and Mirs Bay; Joint study on air quality in Pearl River Delta in 1999; Strengthen co-operation in maintaining water quality; Joint protection and conservation scheme for Chinese white dolphins.