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Title: Strategic environmental assessment in Hong Kong
Authors: Ng, K.L.
Obbard, J.P. 
Keywords: Cost-benefit analysis
Hong Kong
Strategic environmental assessment
Issue Date: May-2005
Citation: Ng, K.L., Obbard, J.P. (2005-05). Strategic environmental assessment in Hong Kong. Environment International 31 (4) : 483-492. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This review examines the development and application of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) process in the planning framework of Hong Kong. Two strategic planning case studies are evaluated within the context of SEA, namely the Territorial Development Strategy Review (TDS Review) and the Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3). Rapid population growth and urbanisation in Hong Kong, coupled with a historic lack of planning controls and inherent conflicts between government departments have been major obstacles to achieving sustainable development in the territory. Despite these challenges, Hong Kong was one of the first Asian countries to apply SEA to major development plans, where the implementation of the 'SUSDEV 21' study on sustainable development has demonstrated the government's commitment towards integrated environmental protection. The application of SEA has provided decision-makers with key information on potential environment impacts arising from proposed developments, resulting in greater accountability and transparency in the decision-making process. SEA in Hong Kong has also prompted an increased level of environmental awareness and co-operation between government departments and agencies responsible for the management of Hong Kong's natural and urban environments. However, the application of SEA in Hong Kong continues to have notable limitations. SEA needs to evolve beyond its current sectoral application to examine ways in which development decisions can not only pre-empt and prevent environmental damage, but also positively enhance and restore existing natural resources. Current land use plans and transportation strategies still largely determine the pattern of development in the near future without adequate longer-term environmental cost-benefit analysis. Sustainable development includes environmental, social and economic considerations, and these inter-related elements need be suitably balanced. SEA is not a means to obstruct development in Hong Kong, but should be recognised for its inherent socio-economic and ecological value, and fully integrated with the decision-making process. Whilst it is admirable that Hong Kong has taken positive steps in this direction, it is now an opportune moment for the government to have the foresight and tenacity to create a sustainable development framework for Hong Kong into the future. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Environment International
ISSN: 01604120
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2004.09.023
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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