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Planning for environmentally sustainable future

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Mr Barry Cheung, today (Friday) officiated at the opening of a seminar entitled "Green Homes: Building an Environmentally Sustainable Future for Hong Kong".

The seminar, with overseas and local prominent experts taking part, is staged to arouse public awareness of protecting the environment.   It is hoped that through the interactive dialogues initiated in the seminar, the community could be encouraged to adopt more environmentally-friendly property planning and development practices, striving for continuous improvement and making contribution to sustainable future for Hong Kong.  About 300 people attended the seminar today.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Cheung expressed concern about the increase of green house gas emissions in Hong Kong and advocated the use of environmentally sustainable facilities and designs in the residential field.

The URA has recently adopted a comprehensive policy on environmental sustainability to formalize and enhance its commitment to fostering a quality living environment in Hong Kong through its 4Rs activities.

"In the final analysis, I expect to see that smart planning and thoughtful layout design together will contribute just as substantially to environmental sustainability as technology alone," said Mr Cheung.

The URA has all along stipulated that the design and construction of its redevelopment projects must be consistent with the government's Urban Renewal Strategy.

"To achieve the goal of urban sustainability, we need to tackle the problem from all sides, coming up with well thought out schemes for entire districts, rather than just focusing on individual projects," he said.

Mr Cheung is of the view that district-based planning can facilitate far better environmental results than project-based planning approach, since it allows--even fosters--the interplay of different buildings and other elements together, maximizing efficiencies, minimizing environmental impacts and maximizing the public good.

"This requires partnerships. Only through consultation with residents and the community, and working together with the various government departments, industry professionals, developers, as well as academics and the public, will Hong Kong be able to approach urban renewal in a holistic manner," he added.

The Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Edward Yau Tang-wah, delivered a keynote speech at a luncheon meeting after the seminar.