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Incinerator expansion update

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In November 2017, Keppel Infrastructure Holdings Pte and China Harbour Engineering Company secured the contract to design, build and operate the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) next to Shek Kwu Chau, just south of Lantau.

Over the course of project planning, the group applied to increase the height of the main building by 5.5 metres from the maximum that had been approved in the Outline Zoning Plan, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Permit. The application, subject to one condition, was approved by the Town Planning Board (TPB) on November 2 this year. Environmental group Living Islands Movement (LIM) vice chairman Louise Preston says, “The details of that condition are not known to the public as the minutes have not yet been published.”

According to the tenderer, the additional bulk is to allow for off-site prefabrication processes of heat recovery boilers, plus reclamation works and infrastructure developments in order for the project to be completed by 2024. They have also claimed that the additional height will improve operational efficiency and enhance safety conditions for the staff.

In the planning application, the group provided 14 photomontages showing how the proposed building will look from 14 strategic locations. However, Preston says, “The group failed to explain that these photomontages show the facility after 10 years of mitigating,  landscaping and screening, and were based on photographs taken 10 years ago.

“The request for the substantial increase is significant and discredits the many assurances about the IWMF given by the Environmental Protection Department to the public over many years,” Preston adds. “The request was made only four months after the competitive award which looks like a retrospective request to vary the tender conditions and breach the approved design criteria.”

In a position paper addressed to the TPB secretary in October, LIM wrote, “The Applicant has chosen to completely ignore and disregard the visual impact findings documented in some detail in the EIA.” LIM reports that 75 objections to the IWMF’s increased height and bulk have been received by the TPB.

Image: iwmfhk.com

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