Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday risked the ire of environmentalists by raising the possibility of using country park land with low ecological value for housing. Speaking ahead of an Executive Council meeting, Leung echoed comments by researchers from the Our Hong Kong Foundation think tank, who a day earlier suggested a review of the ecological value and purpose of all country parks as part of a wider strategy on housing. READ MORE: HK$3m for a 170 sq ft flat? Ex-chief executive proposes release of more land to ease Hong Kong's 'shocking' housing crunch But development minister Paul Chan Mo-po quickly reiterated that the government would not move to develop country parks before its term ends in 2017. Leung said there were suggestions from the community that those parts of the 400 square kilometres of country park land deemed to be of low ecological and sightseeing value could be used to build flats. He said he had raised the idea with young people during forums on housing, and suggested flats built on such sites could be sold to targeted groups, including young people, at lower prices with land premiums waived. "So what do young people think about this suggestion? ... I think we can explore it," Leung said. "Land is like other resources. Sometimes we cannot have one thing to serve two purposes. "When we have country parks, we will have less land for development. When we have more land for development we have less land for country parks." Land is like other resources. Sometimes we cannot have one thing to serve two purposes Leung Chun-ying Leung said he welcomed the foundation's efforts to seek solutions to housing problems. He added that some 14,400 public rental flats his government planned to build had been delayed as neighbours sought judicial reviews. This is not the first time the government has floated the possibility of developing country park land. Chan suggested in 2013 that the idea should be debated. Chan reiterated yesterday that the government would focus on rezoning green-belt sites or "brown-field" land used for purposes such as warehouses. Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said he opposed developing country parks. He instead urged the government to speed up a review of the policy under which male indigenous villagers are entitled to build three-storey homes on ancestral or government land. Meanwhile, a leading adviser to the foundation said achieving its target of helping 80 per cent of families own their own home would make society more stable. "Part of the community has benefited from rising flat prices and economic booms but other groups have been unable to benefit. This is a cause of social division," said Professor Richard Wong Yue-chim, a University of Hong Kong economist. "So when most people own a flat or have the potential to own one, their interests will become the same."