AS the existing legislation has failed to stop the haphazard conversion of farmland into storage and dumping sites and this has seriously affected the quality of life for many in the New Territories through flooding, health hazards and road congestion, the Black Spots Task Force is being set up to clean up the New Territories over the decade.
The Black Spots Task Force was proposed in the Governor’s Policy Address in 1993. It was to be headed by a directorate officer, supported by a multi-disciplinary team composed of land, planning and landscape technicians, and field staff.
Shek Kong, one of the black spots areas, will be tackled experimentally.
“We chose Shek Kong as the first one to tackle experimentally because there are many stripping companies and their assembly yards re located along Kam Tin Road, Kam Sheung Road and Fan Kam Road," said Mr Tsui Hon-sun, Chief Land Executive of Black Spots Task Force.
“It gives the drivers a bad impression of the New Territories when they see these polluting industries. The deterioration of the environment in the New Territories will stay in their mind.”
The programme of the experiment was started in September will be finished within 24 months. The programme includes cleaning up the car stripping companies and beautifying the environment.
“We have concentrated on cleaing up and beautifying the land under government control during the first nine months. In the past two months, we found 156 unauthorised sites, 42 are being cleaned up and 16 are being beautified,” Mr Tsui added.
Apart from cleaning up the land under the government control, the Task Force will start a survey of unauthorised land use on private land in the New Territories.
It may take a series of actions to tackle the problem of unauthorized land uses.
“Some buildings on the open areas may be demolished if the owners do not make any improvement after being warned by the Task Force,” Mr Tsui said.
The Task Force will choose the northern part of the New Territories as the second experimental spot.
“We will tackle the container yards which are located at Hang Cheung in Lou Fou Shan. It doesn’t mean that we will demolish the container yards, but rather to do so, we will first negotiate with the person in-charge of the container yards to relocate the container yards.” Mr Tsui said.
The Task Force will report to a Special Committee which will advise the government on all matters relating to the environment with “black spots” and oversee the exercise.
The Committee will consist predominantly of non-official members from various backgrounds with a broad knowledge of the New Territories and its problems.