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Letter to HKSAR Chief Executive about continued destruction of Pui O Wetland

i Dec 30th No Comments by

It is amazing and disheartening to see the Pui O Wetland being destroyed while government officials appear to sit by and let it happen.

Yes basically before submissions to the Town Planning Board on Application number A/SLC/148 have all been made public and well before a decision by the TPB the land owner appears to be preparing their land for further “Agricultural” use!!!

So to express our dismay we have written a letter to the Chief Executive of the HKSAR which we hope will be taken seriously for a number of important reasons outlined in our letter.

 

Chief Executive
Government of the HKSAR
Tamar
Hong Kong

Sent by post and email (ceo@ceo.gov.hk)

30 December 2017

Continuing Destruction of the Pui O Wetland

Dear Chief Executive,

I write on behalf of Living Islands Movement and our membership across Hong Kong, to express our considerable concern and dismay about a fresh round of landfilling that is taking place on the pristine and precious wetland habitat of Pui O on Lantau Island.

Living Islands Movement (LIM) is a non-affiliated, local group dedicated to the sustainable environment of Hong Kong’s outlying islands – with a focus on Lantau http://www.livingislands.org.hk/about-us/

I know this matter will be of concern to you because of your comments in the policy address about conserving and protecting the Pui O wetlands for future generations of Hong Kongers.  These comments, mirrored by those in the Lantau Blueprint have been welcomed by local residents, NGOs and International Conservation groups as a sign that the Hong Kong Government is giving proper consideration to conservation and the Government commitments under international agreements such as the Convention on Biodiversity.

WWF-Hong Kong rate the Pui O wetlands as one of Hong Kong’s more significant areas of wetland, a habitat rich in biodiversity and home to Hong Kong’s only feral herd of water buffaloes.  The only Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for this area, in 2001, concluded that the ecological value was high and that over the subsequent 20 years the area would grow into an important wetland if left alone.

Today, many visitors, especially from the urban areas of Hong Kong, enjoy this rural idyll, a chance to recharge the batteries away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  A very necessary green lung that the vast majority of Hong Kongers want to preserve.

Given you clearly agree with these sentiments it seems bizarre that your own Environmental Protection Department (EPD) would sign an ‘acknowledgement’ for further landfilling to take place in this beautiful place. This directly contradicts your stated policy intent.  It is even more troubling given that a Judicial Review which challenges the basis on which these ‘acknowledgements’ are given was heard in September 2016 with the judgement now imminent.

We conducted a site visit with officials from relevant departments yesterday, 29th December, and were informed that the landowner commenced landfilling before the EPD’s acknowledgement had been given.  Although the EPD are now intending to prosecute the landowner, they have told us that they are powerless to stop the landfilling continuing. This site is also subject to a Town Planning Board Application which submissions only closed on Wed 27 December (Application number A/SLC/148).

You won’t be surprised to hear that our members are incredulous that this could be the case.  Is the Government of Hong Kong powerless to stop one landowner who seeks to destroy a piece of pristine habitat in order to make a few dollars from renting out shipping containers which have already been placed on the land in question?  If so then the Government would appear to have lost the ability to govern.

We have assured our members that this cannot be the case and that our Chief Executive would not allow this to happen if made aware.  This letter is to ensure you are aware and that you can take the necessary steps to prevent this madness from continuing.

Like you, we are concerned about what we hand on to the children of Hong Kong.  Destruction of the Pui O wetland cannot be allowed to continue and we await your response with hope and anticipation.

Your Sincerely
Dr Merrin Pearse
Chairman of Living Islands Movement

Email: info@livingislands.org.hk

CC. (by email)
– Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR Government – cso@cso.gov.hk
– Secretary for the Environment – sen@enb.gov.hk
– Director of CEDD – shlam@cedd.gov.hk
– Director of AFCD – dafcoffice@afcd.gov.hk
– The Ombudsman – ombudsman@ombudsman.hk

 

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