Why Develop Lantau?

Lantau is the largest island in Hong Kong with a strategic geographic location. Upon completion of various major infrastructures, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) and Hong Kong International Airport Three-Runway system, together with the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, Lantau will be an international and regional double gateway. For the long-term sustainable development of Hong Kong, Lantau can provide land for social and economic development, and conservation of valuable nature and cultural assets.

What is the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint?

The Sustainable Lantau Blueprint (the Blueprint) outlines the future road map for Lantau. The Blueprint is an update and continuation of the Revised Concept Plan for Lantau in 2007 with the same direction of “Development in the North, Conservation for the South”.

Artificial Islands in the Central Waters

Implementation Programme

What is the Government’s plan to implement the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Island project?

We are seeking funding application from the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the Studies related to artificial islands in the Central Waters, mainly on the planning and engineering study for the artificial islands near Kau Yi Chau of about 1,000 hectares. The estimated cost is $550 million in money‑of‑the‑day prices. As far as the future reclamation and related infrastructure works are concerned, we will commence the works only upon the completion of studies, engineering design, public consultation and relevant statutory procedures (such as environmental impact assessments, town planning, etc.), and the grant of funding approval by LegCo.

(Remarks: For details, please refer to PWSC Paper No. PWSC(2019-20)5)

How will the Government consult the public opinions?

We fully understand that some people in the community have concerns about the development of the artificial islands. We will establish a multi‑channel communication platform for continuing our efforts to explain the project objectives and directions of the technical studies to the public and for various professionals and young people to take part in the formulation of measures in areas such as urban design, land use, and smart, environment‑friendly and sustainable development.

In addition, we will conduct the requisite site investigations, technical studies, and traffic and environmental impact assessments, etc. in the future studies with a view to drawing up detailed proposals to further address the public’s concerns. In the course of the studies, we will, in addition to the statutory public consultation exercise, hold various types of public engagement activities to provide more comprehensive information for members of the public, and gather the views of the relevant professional bodies and stakeholders.


Background and Justifications

How did Hong Kong develop itself into an international metropolis by means of land formation through reclamation?

For more than a century, land reclamation has proved to be an effective means of increasing land supply and supporting social and economic developments of Hong Kong. As of 2018, about 7,000 hectares of land in Hong Kong was formed through reclamation, accounting for 25% of the developed land area in Hong Kong (accounting for about 6% of the total land area of Hong Kong). The reclaimed land accommodates approximately 27% of Hong Kong’s total population and 70% of the commercial activities.

What is the situation of land shortage in Hong Kong?

It is beyond dispute that Hong Kong is facing an acute shortage of land supply. The Task Force on Land Supply believes that the actual land shortage of Hong Kong should be far more than 1,200 hectare. There is a shortage of land supply for various uses such as housing, economic, Government, Institution or Community (GIC), open spaces and transport infrastructure facilities. The tight land supply would inevitably aggravate certain livelihood problems and hinder the sustained economic growth. For instance, the average waiting time for public housing had lengthened to 5.4 years, while the rental and selling prices for private offices remain consistently high.

How will the Government solve the shortage of land supply?

Increasing land supply requires immediate action. The Government will continue to, with a multi‑pronged land supply strategy, identify and form land in a persistent manner. Following an extensive five-month public engagement exercise, the Task Force on Land Supply (TFLS) recommended the eight land supply options to which priorities on studies and implementation should be accorded in end 2018, including development of brownfield sites, development of the River Trade Terminal site, near‑shore reclamation outside Victoria Harbour, development of the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM), etc. The Government fully accepted the recommendations tendered by the TFLS and is now actively taking forward the proposals.

(Remarks: The location, scale, broad development mode and potential development benefits of the proposed Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands are consistent with the ELM proposal.)

What is the status of the housing supply in Hong Kong?

According to “Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030”, the housing demand between 2016 and 2046 is estimated to be about one million units. The various short‑to‑medium and medium‑to‑long land supply initiatives can provide about 610,000 housing units in total. Hong Kong needs more land to make up for the housing shortfall. Kau Yi Chau artificial islands of about 1,000 hectares can provide 150,000 to 260,000 residential units, helping make up the shortfall.

(Remarks: Short‑to‑medium term options include changing land use of suitable sites to housing development and the Kai Tak Development, etc. Medium‑to‑long term options include new development areas, new town extension and potential railway property developments, etc.)

What are the reasons behind the development of the artificial islands near Kau Yi Chau?

The preliminary information showed that the Central Waters were ecologically less sensitive, therefore a potential reclamation site for artificial islands. Developing artificial islands near the Central Waters can generate large pieces of new land for housing development without affecting the existing land uses and triggering the long‑drawn land resumption and clearance process, helping to cope with the long‑term housing needs. The Kau Yi Chau artificial islands, located at a strategic location, can be planned as the third core business district, with a view to promoting the economic development. The supporting transport infrastructure is also helpful to enhancing the overall transport network in Hong Kong.

Should the brownfield sites in the New Territories be developed first?

Developing brownfield sites is an integral part of our land supply strategy. The government is actively planning and taking forward various new development areas (NDAs) projects, handling a total of over 540 hectares (ha) of brownfields. About 450 ha of brownfield sites in the New Territories may have development potential but have not been covered by NDAs or other development projects. These sites are mostly private land larger in size and located nearer to existing new towns and major highways, including brownfield sites in Ping Shan and Lam Tei. The Planning Department will accord priority to the study of 160 ha brownfield sites that are closer to existing infrastructure and assess their suitability for public housing development, with a view to commencing follow‑up technical assessment.

Why not developing brownfield sites instead of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands?

The shortage of land supply cannot be addressed solely by developing brownfield sites. The best solution is to adopt a multi‑pronged approach. Developing brownfield sites are not without difficulties, constraints and uncertainties, including adjusting the development scale and time frame of individual projects in light of the views of the local residents. In contrast, the artificial islands near Kau Yi Chau enjoys multiple strategic advantages, therefore irreplaceable by other land supply options.


Finance

Will the Government Reserve be exhausted by developing the artificial islands?

The ballpark estimate of the construction cost of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands is $256 billion (in September 2018 prices). The estimated construction cost of the related priority road and rail network is $246 billion (in September 2018 prices). Such construction cost is to be paid over 10 years. Given that the Government’s annual spending on capital works has been over $100 billion in recent years, it shows that there is sufficient financial capability to implement such projects and the Government’s fiscal reserve will not be exhausted.

Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands and Priority Transport Network
Ballpark Estimate of Construction Cost
Kau Yi Chau artificial islands Reclamation 140 Billion Infrastructure 116 Billion 256 Billion
Kau Yi Chau – Hong Kong Island Road Link 55 Billion
Kau Yi Chau – Hong Kong Island Rail Link 38 Billion
Kau Yi Chau – Lantau Road Link 19 Billion
Kau Yi Chau – Sunny Bay Rail Link 52 Billion
Western Coastal Rail Link 82 Billion
Total
502 Billion
Other Development and Transport Projects
Ballpark Estimate of Construction Cost
Sunny Bay Reclamation, Lung Kwu Tan Reclamation and Tuen Mun coastal area development (including River Trade Terminal) Reclamation 34 Billion Infrastructure 61 Billion 95 Billion
Road P1 and Upgrading of Lung Mun Road 27 Billion
Total
122 Billion

What will be the benefits of developing artificial islands?

Developing Kau Yi Chau artificial islands can bring numerous livelihood and economic benefits, addressing the medium and long‑term social needs.

  • Anticipated to provide between 150,000 and 260,000 housing units, with 70% of them being public housing.
  • Developing the third Core Business District to provide about 4 million square metres of commercial floor area to create ample spaces for the development of both traditional and emerging industries, and to create at least 200 000 diversified employment opportunities.
  • Improving the imbalance between the distribution of housing and jobs, and hence the long commute time and distance.
  • The transport networks serving the artificial islands will greatly enhance the connectivity of Lantau to the urban area and the New Territories West.
  • Providing a vast piece of land as decanting spaces for relocating the households affected by urban renewal.
  • Scattering the dense urban population to reduce population density.
  • Further enhancing communal facilities to create a livable city.
  • Promoting the creation of an innovative, smart, resilient and nearly carbon‑neutral community.
  • Upon the full development of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands, it is broadly estimated that there would be around $141 billion (in 2018 prices) of value‑added each year to the direct economic contribution, amounting to about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product.
  • It is estimated that the land revenue from the private residential and commercial developments on the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands1 will be about $974 billion to $1143 billion (February 2019 estimates).
1It was the estimates made by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors in February 2019. Such estimates did not yet include the economic values of the lands in other development areas under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, as well as the social and economic values to be generated from a large number of public housing units on the public housing development sites of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands.


Environment and Transport

What will be the environmental impacts by the KYC artificial islands?

The prevailing reclamation techniques are effective in reducing impacts on surrounding water quality and ecology arising from the works. We will further explore other more advanced and environmentally‑friendly reclamation techniques and designs in the future studies. For instance, we will establish eco‑shorelines on the artificial islands if situation warrants. In addition, we will conduct the environmental impact assessments under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance to prevent, minimise or control the adverse impacts on the environment, while proposing the corresponding mitigation measures as necessary, in a bid to ensure the projects are in compliance with all the relevant statutory requirements.

How will fill material be supplied for the reclamation of the KYC artificial islands?

In recent years, about 15 million tonnes of surplus inert construction and demolition material (also known as “public fill”) is generated annually by the local construction industry. The current estimates indicate that around half of the fill material to be used in the reclamation works for the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands will be public fill, while the rest will mainly be manufactured sand. We will explore in details the issue of fill material in the future studies.

(Remarks: Manufactured sand is a by‑product of aggregate production, which does not involve seabed.)

How will the climate changes be addressed on the KYC artificial islands?

The design standards of marine works were updated in 2018, in light of the impacts of climate changes. We will keep abreast of the most updated reports on climate changes and update the design standards in a timely manner. The seawalls and site formation levels of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands will be designed in line with the latest standards. Various practicable measures such as provision of breakwaters and placement of odolosse and reservation of nearshore land area as buffers will be implemented as necessary, ensuring sufficient resilience against climate changes and extreme weathers.

Will the development of the artificial islands cause the unusually heavy traffic flow for the area in vicinity of Kennedy Town?

The preliminary assessment results indicated that the priority transport network could meet the transportation needs of the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands, without causing insurmountable problems to both the transport trunks and rail networks in the northern shore of Hong Kong Island. We will conduct an area‑wide study on the transport infrastructure in the future studies to examine various transport infrastructure connection options, with a view to ascertaining the necessary road and rail proposals (including their alignment, connecting points, other supporting facilities, etc.) and the technical feasibility (including the assessment of the possible impacts on the nearby transport networks).