31 January 2006
Advisory Council on the Environment visits the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line
 
Ten members of the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE), accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment) and other government officials, visited the Lok Ma Chau (LMC) Spur Line construction sites of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) recently.
The ACE members took a ride on a works wagon from Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau along the LMC Spur Line, and toured the wetland areas adjacent to Lok Ma Chau Station. They were briefed by Mr Joseph Choi, General Manager – Construction of KCRC on the project's environmental protection initiatives.
Mr Choi said, "KCRC spares no effort in environmental protection. The Spur Line project is a typical example to illustrate that we can strike a good balance between large-scale infrastructural projects and environmental protection."
"The ACE has provided invaluable advice to the KCRC during the Corporation's application for Environmental Permit for the project. The visit provides an excellent opportunity for us to update the ACE members on the KCRC environmental protection initiatives."
The Chairman of the ACE, Professor Lam Kin-che, said, "We are very pleased to see the near completion of the Spur Line and the carefully planned and professionally managed wetlands. The completion of the project is a landmark in the history of nature conservation in Hong Kong. It does not only signify that with careful planning, infrastructure building and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand, but also is a manifestation of the value of the Hong Kong society, the ingenuity of the engineers and the commitment of KCRC to the conservation of natural heritage in Hong Kong. This is a master piece which the people in Hong Kong will be proud of."
Around the Lok Ma Chau station terminus area, a total of 37 hectares of Ecological Enhancement Area are to be created due to the impact of the project. Enhancement works for the area are 90% complete now with the remaining re-profiling and planting work at the main marsh area to be completed by the end of 2006.
Though work is not yet fully completed, the changes in design, high availability of food, diversity of suitable planting species and low levels of human disturbance have attracted very high numbers of wildlife species, especially birds, to the enhanced wetlands. Over a thousand birds which are of 44 different wetland dependent species continuously visit the Ecological Enhancement Area during this winter season. Some 249 of the globally threatened species, Black-faced Spoonbill, were spotted in November 2005.
Reed planting at reed-bed area was adopted for wastewater polishing for the station to maintain a "zero discharge policy". The work has been completed.
By December 2005, the construction works of the Spur Line project are over 85% complete, with a target to commence testing around end of this year.
 
Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Environment, Professor Lam Kin-che (third from left), and Council members, accompanied by Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment) Mr K K Kwok (fourth from left), riding on a works wagon along the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line alignment. They are briefed by KCRC’s General Manager – Construction Mr Joseph Choi (second from right) throughout the visit.
 
ACE members were briefed about the design of the Lok Ma Chau Station. (From left: Professor Lam Kin-che and Mr K K Kwok)
 
Members of the ACE to observe birds in a birds' hide at the wetland area enhanced for the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line project.