Town Planning Board,
The Town Planning Board commenced procedure to rezone 7 parcels of land in Tai Po from Green Belt (GB) to Residential use, and this, together with areas to be rezoned in other districts, is the first ever exercise of this nature carried out in Hong Kong. The Lo Fai Road GB will be one of the first to be affected if these proposals go ahead as it is contained in the Land Sales Program for 2014/15. It will be split into two lots and provide an estimated 660 units of private low-rise housing.
The Chief Executive stated in his Policy Addresses 2013 & 2014 to all Hong Kong citizens that only sites in Green Belt areas which were devegetated, deserted or formed would be rezoned for residential use, yet the Lo Fai Road GB is not devegetated, there are many hundreds of trees, is not deserted, it is a passive recreational area, and is not formed, it is a wooded hill. The C E is not honouring his pledge.
In Rural/New Town areas in the New Territories, GBs are primarily for defining the limits of urban and sub-urban development by natural features, to contain urban sprawl, and to provide passive recreational outlets. They also provide a buffer to what would be considered bad neighbour developments, such as industrial areas. This is everything that the Lo Fai Road GB area now is.
In the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Hong Kong became a signatory to in 2011, GBs are considered as conservation zones with a presumption against any development, but should any
development encroach therein, there should be no removal of natural vegetation or landscape. This Convention will be violated should this rezoning proceed.
Government should consider using brownfield sites, unused industrial sites and the like before using environmentally valuable GB areas, which once developed will be lost forever. We demand that the pledges of the Chief Executive and the Convention on Biological Diversity be honoured, and request the Town Planning Board to reject this rezoning request and retain the Lo Fai Road GB area.
Please email to the Town Planning Board before June 11th: firstname.lastname@example.org, case no. S/TP/25 Item E.