Cash for local conservation projects, a solar power trial and the start of work on the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator top the list of measures affecting Lantau in Carrie Lam’s first policy address.
Lam announced she would make available funding for “countryside conservation initiatives” in areas of Lantau, including Pui O, Tai O and Shui Hau. She said the government would
The Environment and Conservation Fund is a government body, set up in the mid-90s, which in its last funding round in 2013 was granted $5 billion.
A new body, the Countryside Conservation Office, may also be a source of funds for Lantau conservation. It has a $1 billion kitty and a brief to “co-ordinate conservation projects that promote sustainable development of remote countryside.”
Another green project on the drawing board is the implementation of large-scale floating solar farms on the surface of Shek Pik and a dozen other Hong Kong reservoirs, following successful trials at Shek Pik and Plover Cove.
The project with possibly the biggest impact on South Lantau in the coming years could be is the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator – officially known as ‘the integrated waste management facilities.’ Work on the project, just one kilometre off Lantau’s south coast, is due to get underway soon.
The EPD issued a tender for the $21 billion project last December. Lam said the government intended to
Complete the tendering exercise and commence the design and construction works for the phase 1 project of the Integrated Waste Management Facilities for [municipal solid waste] treatment.
As reported earlier, most Lantau commuters will likely qualify for the planned fare subsidy scheme.
In other initiatives:
* A “district cooling system” is under consideration for the new development projects at Tung Chung and the HK-Macau bridge landing zone. A district cooling system is a centralised system of chilled pipes that can cool multiple buildings.
* Lam confirmed the government would go ahead with a review of the city’s heavily-subsidised ferry services, including the possibility of extending the licensing period or even offering subsidies for vessel replacement.
* The CE said she would encourage “the extension of optical fibre networks to villages in rural and remote areas.” Currently 117,000 people in 380 villages lacked access to high-speed fibre, Lam said.
Photo (top): Pui O – ready for conservation?