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Enhanced Oversight Mandated for Construction-Related Environmental Impact Assessments

Enhanced ongoing and ex-post oversight of the environmental impact of construction projects has been urged by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). In line with this, its recently-issued Implementation Opinions on Intensifying Ongoing and Ex-Post Oversight of Environmental Impact Assessments of Construction Projects spells out the required approach on both fronts.

On-going Oversight

All environmental protection departments are urged to check the legality and compliance of their environmental impact assessment procedures and subsequent outcomes. In the case of technical assessment institutions, they should evaluate their technical assessment capability and determine whether they can independently conduct such statutory assessments and avoid any incidences of arbitrary charging.

In the case of environmental impact assessment bodies, they should determine whether they can conduct statutory assessments in full compliance with the prevailing regulations. They should also ensure that all data used in any environmental impact assessment report is genuine and accurate, while adhering to the approved analytical methods and delivering only valid scientifically-demonstrable conclusions. With regard to construction units, their environmental impact assessment procedures need to be overseen in order to ensure compliance with the prevailing regulations, as well as to reassure the public as to their thoroughness.

Ex-post Oversight

With regards to environmental protection departments, it is necessary to oversee their inspection of the “three simultaneous” environmental protection system – the requirement that construction companies must integrate the development, construction and operation of their pollution control systems alongside the matching phases of the overall construction project. In the case of environmental impact assessment bodies, it is imperative that a sampling inspection procedure is implemented in order to subsequently validate the findings of any inspection.

With construction units, however, there is a need to supervise their implementation of the recommendations of any environmental impact assessment report, while also monitoring any related correspondence. Oversight of their compliance with the “three simultaneous” system, as well as with other pertinent environmental management regulations relating to project design, construction, acceptance and implementation, must also be maintained.

Overall, the Implementation Opinions spell out the need to take an innovative approach to environmental oversight, with the concerned parties advised to conduct on-site inspections and to maintain a routine supervision and monitoring regime. The use of new technology, including remote sensing and satellite verification, is also advocated as a means of delivering intelligent, precise, ex-post oversight, while taking into account all of the relevant data provided by the smart environmental impact assessment platform. They also recommend that a minimum of 10% of all construction projects should be subject to spot checks, with a particular emphasis placed on facilities in a number of priority sectors, including petroleum processing, chemical production and non-ferrous metal smelting, as well as those engaged in the manufacture of cement, paper, plate glass, iron and steel.

For further details (in Chinese), please visit the following link:

Implementation Opinions on Intensifying Ongoing and Ex-Post Oversight of Environmental Impact Assessment of Construction Projects (Huan Huan Ping No. 11 [2018])

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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