That loophole

Authorities can do no more than monitor the ongoing irreversible destruction resulting from the lack of protection to areas zoned “Green Belt” because there is no enforcement mechanism for the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) scheme.

There is growing awareness of a complex situation where many current planning permissions granted for commercial development on South Lantau take advantage of this well known loophole in Outline Zoning Plan.

In the 2023 CE policy address, the loophole was presented as an item to be rectified by the administration.

Research identifies this oversight as a “major threat to the health of South Lantau”.

South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan

“South Lantau’s natural environment and biodiversity are at risk.

Undesirable development and environmental destruction have led to the loss of freshwater marshes and other important habitats.

This paper argues that to conserve the distinct biodiversity and natural landscapes and coastal waters of South Lantau, unbalanced development must be stopped and other development stringently regulated.//

Read the full research paper:

WWF South Lantau Watershed Analysis

[https://wwfhk.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/wwf_south_lantau_watershed_analysis_27sept2021.pdf]

It appears the officials  in charge can do no more than monitor the ongoing irreversible destruction.

OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE: 30/03/2023

Subject: APS230304A14443

Regarding planning permission for destruction of the local river in Pui O (Case Ref: 3-7617797733)

South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole
South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole
South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole
South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole
South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole

Regarding your case dated 04/03/2023, the final reply of the Planning Department is as follows –  “According to the location marked on the attached map, the subject site falls within an area zoned “Village Type Development” (“V”) on the approved South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan No. S/SLC/21 (the OZP).

According to the Notes of the OZP, there are no restrictions on filling / excavation of land within the “V” zone.

According to our record, the Rural & New Town Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board (the TPB) approved on 24.6.2022 a planning application with conditions (Application No. A/SLC/170) for a proposed temporary shop and services for a period of six years at the subject site.

Furthermore, according to the submitted photos, it is noted that there are construction activities to the north of the subject site, which may affect a natural stream in the vicinity.

Our response from the planning perspective is as follows:   The area to the north of the subject site falls within an area zoned “Green Belt” (“GB”) on the OZP.

According to the Notes of the OZP, there are no restrictions on filling / excavation of land within the “GB” zone.

According to our record, on 13.2.2023, the TPB received a planning application for a proposed temporary holiday camp for a period of six years (Application No. A/SLC/175).

On 14.3.2023, the TPB received a request for deferment regarding the subject application, which will be considered by the Rural and New Town Planning Committee of TPB on 31.3.2023.

As the OZP planning scheme area was not previously designated as Development Permission Area, the Planning Authority is not vested with enforcement power under the Town Planning Ordinance against non-conforming uses within the South Lantau Coast area.

According to the Explanatory Statement of the OZP, the enforcement of the zonings mainly rests with relevant departments and the various licensing authorities.

Nevertheless, we will continue monitoring the subject site and liaise with relevant departments.

Regards,
Florence LEE
TP/SD, SK&Is DPO, PlanD

If you have any questions about this reply, please contact us.

Best regards,
Kelvin Yeung
Customer Service Officer
1823

Tel: 1823
Fax: 2760 1823
Email: tellme@1823.gov.hk
SMS: 6163-1823 (SMS only)


In the news

WWF-Hong Kong calls on government to step up protection of threatened habitats on South Lantau (SCMP – 28 September 2021)

Hundreds of trees felled in Hong Kong in ‘revenge’ at government zoning plan (SCMP – 19 April 2016)

South Lantau Life
Author: South Lantau Life

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