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Joint Statement on the 3rd Runway by 12 Green groups


(3 August 2013) Representatives from the 12 green groups presented a gift and urge the Airport Authority Hong Kong (HKAA) to be open and transparent, but HKAA's representative refuse to promise when receiving the letter

(please scroll down from the Joint Letter)






Content of the Joint Letter:


Mr Stanley Hui Hon-chung JP

Chief Executive Officer

Airport Authority Hong Kong


3 August 2013


Dear Mr Hui,


Thank you the brief of NGOs and public forums on the progress of the EIA study by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) for the planned.


However, we are very disappointed that little data and results have been released to allow us and the society to gain a good understanding of the likely impacts from such a large infra-structure project and how they can be mitigated. The event appears more a public relations event rather than a sincere effort in addressing environmental concerns in collaboration with the stakeholders.


The larger question as to whether Hong Kong needs a third runway remains outstanding.  As experts continue to point out the flight volume is limited by air space management over PRD under control of the PLA and the domestic expansion of air routes on the mainland itself would receive the priority allocation over Hong Kong. It appears a prerequisite for any expansions is that there are first unequivocal assurances and approvals by the PLA to relax air space controls which permit the increase in volume of landings and take-offs which justify the expansion plans and ecological damage. There are also reports that the existing two runways are under-used and that skilled additional manpower recruited for air-control operations could easily increase the volume of traffic. Given that global trade is entering in a deep and prolonged recession and that the mainland's economy is aggressively turning inward to develop its own airport infrastructure, the proposed third runway runs into serious risk of turning into a white elephant. It is upon the AAHK to demonstrate to the community that these concerns have been fully addressed.


Moreover, both the EIA and the SROI study mentioned below, as well as mitigation and compensation measures should consider all committed and planned projects in the western waters. Whether or not this formally goes beyond the legal requirements under the EIAO, it would be astounding for the AAHK not to be seen to take full responsibility for a comprehensive approach given that the Airport and its expansion plans are the major magnet and driver behind many such plans including land for logistics and tourism related industries, land and infrastructure for associated transport infrastructure. Impacts will be difficult to apportion to each individual project in the future, and much coordination would be required beyond AAHK’s control to implement and control the mitigation and enhancement measures it is considering.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

In the western waters of the SAR, where the proposed third runway will be located, a number of other large developments are currently underway or are in the planning stages: the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link and Tung Chung New Town Development Extension and several proposed reclamations. In addition, the Railway Development Strategy II has proposed a new railway in that area. A SEA, covering the proposed third runway project and all other committed as well as planned large infrastructure projects in and around the western waters of the Hong Kong SAR, should be conducted. This will help avoid altogether or at least minimize major impacts on the area’s already degraded environment, and identify the areas needed to be conserved following the Ecosystem Approach under the Convention on Biological Diversity.



We are deeply disappointed that there has been no progress in the SROI (or social cost assessment) despite being promised by your Mr Wilson Fung in Oct 2012 during a joint meeting with the green groups that the scope would be shared in the first quarter of 2013. We are already in the third quarter, and the EIA is steaming ahead and expected to be completed later this year or early next year, still it is not certain when the scope of the SROI will be produced let alone when such study will commence.

This is not acceptable as the social cost is a very important component that should be taken into account when making decision on the proposed Third Runway. Hence, we urge AAHK to speed up the whole process regarding this SROI study to ensure the findings are available at the same time with those from the EIA to allow Hong Kong to make a wise decision.


Community SROI

In view of the lack of progress from your end, two green groups (FoE, HKDCS) and the independent think-tank, the Professional Commons, have jointly decided to launch a smaller scale study. We trust that you would welcome such community efforts. The methodology, analyses and conclusions will be entirely public to allow for easy comparison and contestation. We therefore request for early availability and access to all relevant data from AAHK set out in the attached table.

Chinese White Dolphin (CWD)

Surveys conducted under the EIA have generated a lot of data and new information. However, it is evident that during the briefing to the green groups on 1 Aug, the impacts from the proposed third Runway project to the Chinese white dolphin, in particular to the travelling corridor between their core areas of activities between Lung Kwu Chau, the Brothers Islands and West Lantau, cannot be adequately assessed from these surveys and existing information available on this species. A target study is needed to properly assess the impacts from the third runway on this species which is already in continual decline in Hong Kong waters.


Once there is a good grasp of what the impacts are, then appropriate mitigation/compensation measures can be designed. However, we have to stress that there are no successful cases in which impacts from large development on a declining population of this species are mitigated. As a precautionary principle, it is necessary to evaluate and demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the recommended mitigation measures (such as reducing marine traffic and designation of Marine Park(s)) before the project can go ahead. It is also important to work out the objectives of such mitigation measures and get it agreed upon so that everyone is clear about what we are trying to achieve in terms of the future of the CWD.


Air Quality

The flight operations on the 3rd runway are likely to increase air pollution especially for Particulates dust PM 10 and PM 2.5 by as much as 100%. AAHK should demonstrate with supporting data and evidence how they can meet Hong Kong's new AQOs standards under the third runway scenario.



We hope our requests and asks will be adequately addressed in a timely manner and we would appreciate a reply from you regarding the above within 2 weeks.


Best regards,




Signatories (in alphabetical order):

Clean Air Network

Clear The Air

Designing Hong Kong

The Conservancy Association

Friends of the Earth (HK)

Greeners Action


Green Sense

Green Power

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society

World Green Organisation






Encl. Preliminary Request for data



Preliminary Request for data




#1.    Current and forecast (in the years at least up to 2030 and ideally up to 2050) levels of emission of carbon dioxides, including emissions from aircrafts (both Landing Takeoff Cycle and Cruising Cycle) and emissions from airport infrastructure.  The forecast should ideally include both scenarios of the 2-Runways and 3-Runways alternatives, with and without mitigation measures.


#2.    AA’s estimate of the climate change cost (taking into account carbon emission and radiative forcing index.  The forecast should ideally include both scenarios of the 2-Runways and 3-Runways alternatives, with and without mitigation measures.


#3.    Current and forecast (in the years at least up to 2030 and ideally up to 2050) levels of air pollutant concentration in all potentially affected areas / locations. The forecast should ideally include both scenarios of the 2-Runways and 3-Runways alternatives, with and without mitigation measures.


#4.    Current and forecast (at least up to 2030 and ideally up to 2050) noise levels (measured in decibels) in all areas / locations potentially affected. The forecast should ideally include both scenarios of the 2-Runways and 3-Runways alternatives, with and without mitigation measures


#5.  GDP forecast from current year to at least 2050 (or ideally end of the assumed project life).


#6.  Quantitative assumptions in the technological improvement in aircrafts in future to the year 2030, and ideally 2050





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