Successfully protecting a wetland in Pui O from land development
The petition “Oppose the conversion of Pui O wetland into a holiday camp” launched by Save Lantau Alliance was announced victorious – the land planning application (A/SLC/161) for converting a wetland in Pui O into a glamping site was rejected on 4 Sep 2020.
In 2017, Hong Kong Government introduced its blueprint “Development in the North, Conservation for the South” as the future direction of Lantau with the aims of striking a balance between development and conservation. Yet, environmental degradation such as land filling and dumping continues.
Save Lantau Alliance revealed in the early 2018 that land destruction and filling were carried out persistently on a wetland in Pui O, South Lantau. The vandalism continued with construction of a brick wall around the site in the late 2019. In Augest this year, the landowners showed their interest in converting the wetland into a glamping site for ecotourism and education purposes and applied to the Town Planning Board.
Save Lantau Alliance collected 5,622 signatures in five days and successfully opposed the planning application for converting a wetland into a glamping site.
‘SupportHK is an important platform for environmental conservation,’said Eddie Tse, Save Lantau Alliance convener, adding that SupportHK spread the message about this planning application and amplified the public’s voice – to protect the wetland from further destruction.
Given the Lantau blueprint, development should not be allowed on the south side of Lantau. Save Lantau Alliance was concerned the approval for this planning application would possibly set a bad precedent, particularly as policy measures have not been launched to proactively conserve South Lantau – one of the most ecologically important regions in Hong Kong.
The biodiversity and natural habitat of Lantau especially in the South are threatened by land vandalism and most recently urban development – Lantau Tomorrow Vision. The government claimed Lantau Tomorrow Vision project has multiple benefits including the enhancement of Hong Kong’s strategic position as a global hub for finance, trade and transportation and solving the housing problem in Hong Kong. Given the large-scale land reclamation in the South-east Lantau and the potential adverse impacts on the marine environment, multiple local green groups including Save Lantau Alliance object to this project.
The Government of HKSAR (2017). SDEV’s speaking points at Sustainable Lantau Blueprint Press Conference (with photo/video). Press Releases. Cited on 22 Sep 2020. https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201706/03/P2017060300667.htm
Author: Mandy Wong