Hong Kong – TLB’s response to media enquiries on suspected delay to Three-Runway System project

TLB’s response to media enquiries on suspected delay to Three-Runway System project

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     ​In response to media enquiries on an overseas media’s report today (February 2) alleging that there are delays to the Three-Runway System project (3RS), a spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau said that the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) is taking forward the 3RS at full steam according to schedule. It is a clear target of AAHK to complete all the building and infrastructure works of the 3RS and put all three runways into operation within 2024. The AAHK will open relevant passenger facilities progressively in the light of passenger traffic demand.

     The spokesman stresses that there is absolutely no question of delay of the 3RS project and that any such allegation is groundless.

Response by Schiphol to Labour Authority decision

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Good working conditions and a healthy workplace have been prioritised in the new course Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has charted. Many improvements have been made over the years, but things have to be done quicker and better. As we said following previous Labour Authority reports on the decision: it is unfortunate that we and the sector have not been sufficiently successful in solving this ourselves and that the Labour Inspectorate has to get involved. Schiphol and partners are currently making progress when it comes to taking measures, conducting research and implementing innovations.

Measures to reduce emissions

Schiphol is working to reduce emissions and exposure of employees to these emissions. Collaboration is of the essence to make improvements in the airport. The airport is doing so in consultation with the aviation sector, national government and knowledge institutions. This means Schiphol is working on a comprehensive package of measures together with other employers. This is a complex challenge, as some of the required solutions − technological or otherwise − arent always available yet.

At Schiphol we are working on:

  • Measures on the apron to remove the source of emissions, such as the more stringent rules on taxiing using fewer engines and on auxiliary engine use, which are in place as of this year.
  • Measures to increase the distance between the source of emissions and employees, such as adjusting departure procedures (effective at the first two gates as of this year). In the course of 2024, the aviation sector will submit a joint action plan to adjust the departure procedures at Schiphol in the years ahead.
  • Experimental research into filtering and cleaning the air on and close to the apron, thereby improving air quality. Last autumn, for example, Schiphol conducted its first air filtration pilot at the fire station. In February, a follow-up pilot on outdoor use of the filtration system will start on the Pier D apron.

Read more at: Schiphol.nl/ultrafijnstof

We are taking the new insights from the report published by the Labour Authority today very seriously and will study them. Regardless of this, Schiphol will do its utmost to minimise exposure to kerosine engine emissions.

Background information

In May 2023, the Netherlands Labour Authority published a draft decision with proposed requirements regarding kerosene engine emissions and the improvement of working conditions at Schiphol. Schiphol, other parties in the aviation sector and stakeholders were asked to submit their views on this. The Dutch Labour Authority has now taken a final decision, which Schiphol will study.

Hong Kong – DEVB’s response to media enquiries

DEVB’s response to media enquiries

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     In response to media enquiries on the Hong Kong Golf Club’s application for judicial review in respect of the decision on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report on the Technical Study on Partial Development of Fanling Golf Course Site – Feasibility Study, a spokesperson for the Development Bureau today (July 21) gave the following reply:
      
     The Hong Kong Golf Club’s application for judicial review on the matter will not affect the Government taking back the 32 hectares of land east of Fan Kam Road in Fanling Golf Course on September 1, 2023, upon the expiry of the relevant short term tenancy. Nor will it affect the Town Planning Board proceeding with the statutory planning procedures.
      
     We reiterate that the Government’s intention to construct public housing at the 9.5-hectare (ha) site at the northernmost of the 32 ha of land remains unchanged. The remaining site not for housing development (about 22 ha) will be used for conservation and passive recreational use for public enjoyment. Separately, as the Government previously stated, in case the Hong Kong Golf Club needs to temporarily use land in the 32 ha for supporting the organisation of major events in future, the relevant departments would be happy to consider lending the site according to actual circumstances and needs.

Hong Kong – Response of HKSAR Government on release of final report by International Atomic Energy Agency regarding discharge plan of Fukushima nuclear power station

Response of HKSAR Government on release of final report by International Atomic Energy Agency regarding discharge plan of Fukushima nuclear power station

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     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its final report for its review on the safety of Japan’s wastewater discharge plan (the final report) today (July 4). The HKSAR Government’s inter-departmental taskforce, which was formed in response to Japan’s wastewater discharge plan, is reviewing the final report and will make further risk assessment regarding the discharge plan. The HKSAR Government will seek to obtain more information and relevant scientific evidence from Japan regarding how safety of the discharge can be guaranteed and follow up with the Japanese authorities on relevant matters. The HKSAR Government will take all necessary measures to safeguard food safety and public health of citizens in Hong Kong.
 
     Since the Japanese Government’s announcement of the discharge plan in 2021, the HKSAR Government has repeatedly expressed grave concern about the impact of the discharge plan on food safety, and has indicated clearly to the Japanese authorities that they should not discharge the wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean unilaterally without the consensus of the international community so as to avoid bringing about irreversible impacts on the environment. As the discharge plan is expected to last for 30 years, it is a real issue that worries the public as to how the Japanese authorities will ensure the effective operation of the treatment facility continuously, and how they will ensure that the discharge plan will not pose any potential risks to food safety and the marine ecosystem. The HKSAR Government has repeatedly indicated to the Japanese authorities that once Japan commences the discharge, the HKSAR Government will immediately take control measures, including imposing import control on aquatic products from high risk prefectures of Japan to prevent the potentially affected Japanese food products from entering Hong Kong, so as to ensure food safety and public health of citizens in Hong Kong.
 
     Food safety is of an issue of paramount importance affecting public health. The Government is responsible for ensuring that food sold in Hong Kong is safe and fit for consumption. The HKSAR Government has formed an inter-departmental taskforce with the relevant government departments in response to Japan’s wastewater discharge plan. The taskforce comprises the Environment and Ecology Bureau, the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Hong Kong Observatory, the Department of Health and the Government Laboratory. The HKSAR Government will formulate and announce the import control measures on relevant food from Japan based on scientific and risk-based principles after taking into full consideration of the final report of the IAEA, the opinion of Mainland China’s expert, risk assessments and relevant information, etc.

Hong Kong – Government’s response to enquiries on “Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles”

Government’s response to enquiries on “Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles”

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     ​In response to media enquiries on “Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles” (the Scheme), a Government spokesman gave the following response today (May 1):

     The governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong announced at noon today that the Scheme will be open for application from eligible Hong Kong private cars from 9am on June 1 this year, and approved Hong Kong private cars will be allowed to travel between Hong Kong and Guangdong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) starting from 0.00am on July 1.

     The Government’s early announcement of the implementation time and detailed arrangements of the Scheme today would allow sufficient time for the public to learn about the Scheme, obtain Mainland driving licences and prepare the documents required for application in advance, etc. There is also a one-month interval between application commencement and the start of travel of the approved vehicles, with a view to allowing ample time for more members of the public to orderly complete the relevant application procedures.

     To ensure that the Scheme is implemented in an orderly manner, the governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong have agreed to set a cap on the number of applications to be accepted, which will be allocated by computer balloting, at the initial stage of launching the Scheme (200 applications will be accepted per working day in the first week, followed by 300 applications to be accepted per working day from the second week onwards). The Government will review the application situation and progressively increase the number of applications to be accepted as necessary.

     As for vehicle examination, the governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong have been devising measures to enhance the examination arrangement while complying with the Mainland regulations. We believe the examination capacity will be sufficient to meet the demand under the Scheme. The governments of the two sides will closely monitor the situation and launch further enhanced measures in a timely manner. 

     To ensure a better northbound travel experience for the approved applicants, the governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong have also agreed to set a daily cap on the number of northbound vehicles. Applicants who have obtained the relevant licences for the Scheme may book for travelling within a designated period via the online booking system. The HKSAR Government is now in discussion with the Guangdong Provincial Government on the daily cap, and will separately announce the details in due course after reviewing the application situation.

     To cope with the upsurge of workload in the first quarter this year, the Transport Department (TD) has implemented a range of measures to expedite the processing of Closed Road Permit (CRP) applications, including streamlining the application procedures, arrangement of staff for overtime work on weekdays and weekends, and deployment and recruitment of additional staff. With the efforts, all applications pending processing have been vetted by end of April this year. Currently, new CRP applications can be completed within five working days as in the past in general, while renewal applications can be completed within one day. To facilitate the implementation of the Scheme, the TD will continue to utilise electronic service, deploy and recruit additional staff, etc. for continued enhancement of the application handling capacity.
 
     As regard the fees for participating in the Scheme, the State Council announced in November last year that eligible Hong Kong private cars under the Scheme are exempted from paying customs duties or applying for guarantee arrangements with Mainland customs, thereby largely reducing the relevant fees. The fees that applicants need to pay include the CRP application to the TD, vehicle examination and buying insurance (i.e. Compulsory Traffic Accident Liability Insurance for Motor Vehicles of the Mainland or “unilateral recognition” insurance policies of Hong Kong) in accordance with the Mainland requirements. The fees will vary subject to the vehicle conditions, duration of policy period, etc. Generally speaking, the fees for a maximum of one-year validity period amount at around 2,000 to 3,000 Hong Kong dollars; while those for one-month validity period amount at around 1,000 Hong Kong dollars.

     In the longer term, the governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong will draw on the implementation experience of the Scheme at the HZMB and proactively study the extension of the Scheme to a Shenzhen/Hong Kong land boundary control point, such that Hong Kong private cars can travel to both the eastern and western parts of Guangdong.