Plans to expand Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) with a third runway have passed another hurdle with the endorsement of an environmental council assessment that includes conditions to protect marine life and ecology.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) says it welcomes the recommendation made by the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) to endorse the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for expanding HKIA into a three runway system (3RS). The AA’s acting chief executive officer, CK Ng, says: “This is a key milestone in the development of the 3RS project. It’s also an important step for maintaining Hong Kong’s overall competitiveness, by allowing our airport to meet its long-term aviation demand while generating local employment.
“While pursuing economic development, we will do everything we can to mitigate its impact on the environment through the measures stipulated in the EIA report, aiming to achieve a balance between economic development and conservation.”
Ng adds that the AA will carefully study the conditions and recommendations made by the ACE in its endorsement of the EIA report. The council has asked the director of environmental protection to consider imposing conditions on the environmental permit for the airport authority to address the council’s concerns regarding marine and terrestrial ecology.
The conditions include, the conservation of Chinese white dolphins, a proposed marine park, water quality, waste management and audits of air and noise emissions. The aim is to commence construction of the 3RS project as soon as possible after obtaining government approval in order to meet the target of it being fully operational by 2023.
In June, the AA held two public forum sessions for the EIA and more than 700 members of the public attended. Local and international experts presented information from the EIA study. HKIA handled 4.1 million tonnes of cargo and 372,040 flight movements last year and the hub is fast approaching its maximum capacity. Under a three-runway system, it would be able to accommodate 620,000 flight movements a year, meeting its projected demand up to the year 2030.