Regina Ip meets with groups of environmentalists
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Chief Executive candidate Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee told a group of environmentalists that she agreed with their recycling proposals and would propose increasing the Recycling Fund in her final platform paper.

The environmentalists provided invaluable suggestions to promote recycling activities. In Hong Kong, the average amount of waste generated continues to increase but there has not been much improvement in the recycling rate. Environmental groups think the government should increase subsidies provided to the recycling industries, which would alleviate the pressing need to expand current landfill sites.

Representatives from environmental groups exchanged views with Mrs. Ip on various issues including land use, air quality and waste recycling. The environmentalists voiced their concern on land use, particularly on development issues in brownfield sites, country parks and Lantau.

Both parties agreed the government should make better use of brownfield sites, but noted that the government was passive in this regard and only recently started research on brownfield land use. “There are a lot of economic activities such as storage, logistics and recycling in the brownfield sites which require resettlement. This will take time.” Mrs. Ip pointed out.

On the issue of land use in country parks, Mrs. Ip reiterated, “We cherish the natural scenery in country parks as these are invaluable resources. However, when faced with the current issue of severe land shortage, we should maintain an open attitude and consider the various ways that we can increase land supply. I would only consider development in sites with low ecological importance as a matter of final resolve and after very careful consideration when there are no alternatives left.”
Environmentalists also voiced their concern on the Lantau development plan, particularly on the environmental impact caused by the development of East Lantau Metropolis. “The reclamation at Kau Yi Chau would yield a man-made island with a capacity of 700,000 inhabitants. This is going to be a very expensive and lengthy project and will involve in-depth environmental studies. I think we should in parallel consider other ways to increase land supply.” Mrs. Ip responded.

The delegation pointed out that roadside air pollution is causing damaging impacts to health of our citizens, and the upcoming administration should impose further emission control measures. Mrs. Ip said she agreed in principle to enforcing Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to reduce the number of road vehicles. But, unfortunately, the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) was currently overburdened with various duties across the board. She added that she was looking at redefining government bureaux and departments and “I propose the upcoming administration reform the THB and so they can better focus on resolving traffic problems. Apart from enforcing ERP, they also need to come up with other measures to further reduce roadside air pollution.”

Mrs. Ip concluded the meeting with: “We are all affected by the effects of global warming, climate change and extreme weather changes. I am delighted we reached common grounds to improve prospects of our future generations, to work together and enforce better environment protection measures.”

Mrs. Ip and her team will continue to meet various parties and organizations to explain her policy platform and seek support.

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