Enhancing Land Supply Strategy - Reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and Rock Cavern Development

We need more land in quest of better living spaces. The Government has been striving to release land resources through a number of options, including resumption of rural land, redevelopment, land rezoning, reuse of ex-quarry sites, rock cavern development (RCD) and reclamation. Each of these six options, however, comes with its own challenges. Due to a long lead-time for land creation and the need to meet our long-term development requirements, we must take a "six-pronged approach" and plan ahead now.

The Development Bureau, the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Planning Department commenced a study on "Enhancing Land Supply Strategy: Reclamation Outside Victoria Harbour and Rock Cavern Development" (hereafter called "Enhancing Land Supply Strategy") in 2011 with aims to assess the feasibility of enhancing land supply through two land supply options: reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and RCD.

Apart from the broad technical assessment, the study comprised a 2-stage Public Engagement (PE) Exercise. Stage 1 and Stage 2 PE activities were conducted from November 2011 to March 2012 and from March 2013 to June 2013 respectively.

Views collected during Stage 1 PE showed a broad support for a "six-pronged approach" to enhance land supply, which included reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and RCD. Moreover, the potential impacts on environment and local communities were considered the most important site selection criteria when selecting reclamation and RCD sites.

Based on the site selection criteria confirmed in Stage 1 PE and the broad technical assessment, we identified a few potential reclamation and RCD sites for further consideration and public consultation in Stage 2 PE exercise. They included five near-shore reclamation sites namely Lung Kwu Tan, Siu Ho Wan, Sunny Bay, Ma Liu Shui and Tsing Yi Southwest. We also observed the potential of building artificial islands in the central waters. As for RCD, we suggested investigating the feasibility of relocating three government facilities, namely Diamond Hill Fresh Water and Salt Water Service Reservoirs, Sai Kung Sewage Treatment Works and Sham Tseng Sewage Treatment Works, into cavern as pilot schemes for cavern development.

During the Stage 2 PE, we consulted the public on the possible land uses for the potential reclamation and RCD sites, as well as particular aspects which needed our attention in further studies. The views collected will be considered when conducting the studies later.

Among the five potential near-shore reclamation sites, three of them (viz. Sunny Bay, Siu Ho Wan and Lung Kwu Tan) are in the western waters where are already constrained by various major infrastructure projects. To take into account major environmental considerations up front, we commenced a study on cumulative environmental impact assessment at these three reclamation sites in 2013 to assess strategically the total environmental effects of these three reclamation sites in consideration of other concurrent projects in the western waters. The findings can facilitate our planning and preparation of future studies including the statutory environmental impact assessment.

Please click the following link for the Executive Summaries of relevant technical reports and Executive Summaries of the two-stage PE Reports: Click here to view the documents.

Reclamation outside Victoria Harbour

Different land supply options have different challenges and limitations but they can complement each other. It is more likely to attain a steady and adequate land supply if a "six-pronged approach" is adopted. Compared with redevelopment and land resumption, reclamation will not affect existing land uses and can generate a large piece of new land to cater for unexpected demand timely. Reclamation is also more suitable to be used as land reserve and can provide greater flexibility for comprehensive planning of a balanced and sustainable community. In fact, new towns such as Shatin, Ma On Shan and Tai Po were successful examples of development on reclaimed land in the past three to four decades, meeting the housing and community needs of hundreds of thousands of people. In addition, reclamation can provide new land as decanting sites to accommodate residents and facilities affected by other land supply options (e.g. redevelopment) and allow relocation of unpleasant or special industrial facilities away from the urban areas to reduce impact on local community and to release valuable land for other uses.

Reclamation at suitable location outside Victoria Harbour on an appropriate scale can be a possible option to increase land supply and create a land reserve. In addition, it can handle surplus fill materials and contaminated mud generated from routine dredging of navigation channels in a more environmentally friendly and less costly way. We will explore suitable locations at new reclamations for developing eco-shoreline. It can not only enhance the ecological environment along the shorelines but also allow public enjoyment at seafront.

Sustainable development counts on a balance among environmental protection, social needs, and economic development. The impact on the environment must be considered regardless of creating new land at sea or on shore. Reclamation related issues are more commonly known – such as how to lessen the effects of reclamation to the seabed, marine ecology and the fishery industry. However, we should not neglect the potential impacts of rural development on green belts, land habitats and ecology as well as agricultural activities. In pursuit of sustainable development, the critical choice is not whether to create new land at sea or on shore but to identify suitable site locations.

Reclamation outside Victoria Harbour is an important source of long-term land supply as set out by the Chief Executive in 2015 Policy Address. To build up the land reserve, we will actively press ahead with reclamation outside Victoria Harbour, while endeavoring to keep the impact on the environment and marine ecology to a minimum. The Government will continue to seek support from the Legislative Council and proceed to commence studies in connection with various reclamation sites, including strategic studies to look into the technical feasibility of developing artificial islands in the central waters and a planning and engineering study on the reclamation in Sunny Bay of Lantau.

Meanwhile, the technical studies for Siu Ho Wan, Ma Liu Shui and Lung Kwu Tan reclamations were largely completed in 2017, which have established the technical feasibility of the reclamation proposals. Besides, a technical study on traffic infrastructure at Kennedy Town for connecting to East Lantau Metropolis was also largely completed in 2017, in which possible schemes for highway and railway connections at Kennedy Town that will not affect the Kennedy Town & Mount Davis Outline Zoning Plan have been drawn up. Please click the following link for the Executive Summaries / reports of the relevant technical studies: Click here to view the documents.

Cavern Development

Cavern development is regarded as a new source of land supply. By relocating suitable government facilities to caverns, the original land as well as the adjacent sterilized land can be released for housing and other uses. This land is a valuable resource, particularly near or in the urban area. By putting "Not-in-My-Backyard" facilities, such as Sewage Treatment Works and Refuse Transfer Stations which are unsightly and odorous, would minimize impacts on the community. Moreover, putting cavern in innovative uses such as columbaria, data centres and laboratories can spare valuable surface land for other uses.

In 2014, the owner departments of the three government facilities selected under Enhancing Land Supply Strategy Study commenced the feasibility studies on the pilot schemes to relocate these facilities into caverns.

A holistic approach is required in the planning and execution of the RCD initiative so that it will become a sustainable means of increasing land supply. Furthermore, private sector participation should be an important part of the initiative because many private facilities, such as storage facilities, warehouses and data centres, can benefit from a relatively more stable and secure setting offered by rock caverns. The Government will formulate a long-term strategy for cavern development by developing Cavern Master Plans and policy guidelines. Moreover, the potential of developing underground space in the urban areas will also be explored, such as by studying the possibility of linking up the underground spaces of existing or planned structures in the urban areas. Members of the public are welcome to browse the other sections under Topics in Focus at this website for relevant information of the studies.

Contact Us

Post Chief Engineer/Port Works,
Civil Engineering and Development Department,
4/F, Civil Engineering and Development Building,
101 Princess Margaret Road, Homantin, Kowloon
E-mail enquiry@cedd.gov.hk
Tel 2762 5630
Fax 2714 2054