A number of major builders that have figured prominently in pollution convictions since January 2000 have defended their recent records. A typical example is the high-profile Paul Y Group, which has been convicted of a total of 27 breaches of anti-pollution laws since January 2000, with two of its branches, Paul Y Construction Company and Paul Y-ITC General Contractors, accumulating 11 convictions each under noise-control laws. The group's corporate counsel, William Cheung, said the company had worked hard to clean up its act over the past 18 months. 'There were only two incidents [under the Air Pollution Ordinance] in 2002 and none so far in 2003,' he said. 'Tremendous efforts have been made for improvements and the management have kept in mind environmental issues.' James Graham, executive director of Gammon Skanska, which has had 16 convictions under anti-pollution laws since January 2000, also defended the company's recent record. 'We have introduced environmental management systems across the company,' he said. The new measures included discussing the environmental impact of projects like Chater House and Island Eastern Corridor with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) before beginning work and introducing dust-suppression equipment for debris and rubbish removal at the company's sites, he said. Another repeat offender, but on the lower end of the scale - Leighton Contractors (Asia) Limited - has had nine convictions for noise pollution since January 2000. The company was also fined $15,000 under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance last year for contravening the provisions of a licence. Group communications manager Chris Gordon said the company was generally proud of its environmental record. 'We do whatever we can to minimise noise pollution and other disturbances. But we admit we're not perfect and we do have mishaps from time to time,' he said. Leighton Asia has a $1.7 billion share in the Central land reclamation project for the Territory Development Department. One of its partners in the project, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, has been fined 14 times for noise-related offences and 10 times for water-pollution incidents since January 2000. A spokeswoman for the company acknowledged its record over the past three years but said this was 'much better' than its performance before 2000. She said the company had adopted a wide range of measures to improve its environmental performance and comply with environmental legislation. The EPD received about 6,370 complaints about noise last year - representing 33 per cent of all complaints. Almost a third, or 781 out of 2,888 noise-related complaints in the first six months of this year, dealt with construction noise. Noisy construction activities are banned between 7pm and 7am each day and on Sundays and holidays without a Construction Noise Permit. Percussive piling is also restricted to three or five hours a day in densely developed areas, depending on the type of machines used.