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50km long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge cost over 70 billion Hong Kong Dollars. Now the construction was suspended by an elderly woman. Maybe it cannot be completed in 2016 on schedule.
The elderly woman was Zhu Qihua. She thought that Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was not assessed on the impact of ozone, sulfur dioxide and suspended particles, which was unreasonable and illegal. She applied for a judicial review of the environmental assessment report of Hong Kong last year. On 18th, Hong Kong High Court declared the environmental assessment report by Hong Kong Environmental Protection Administration in 2009 invalid. Hong Kong Environmental Protection Administration said they would study the ruling and consult legal advice for the next move.
Inland part of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has been started for 1 year. The dredging project of artificial island was completed about 90% while the Hong Kong part was not started now, which was expected to start last year due to the obstacle of a 66-year-old lady Zhu Qihua who lived in Dongyongfu Dongshi Hong Kong.
Zhu Qihua said she has diabetes and heart disease. She applied for a judicial review in High Court to strike down 2 environmental assessment reports on Hong Kong part of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge on October, 2009 by Hong Kong Environmental Protection Administration. In the judicial review, she said the construction was not assessed on the impact of ozone, sulfur dioxide and suspended particles, which was unreasonable and illegal. On March 2011, Hong Kong High Court held the judicial review. 18th afternoon, Hong Kong High Court declared the reports invalid and requested that the chief of Environmental Protection Administration revoke the environmental permit.
The ruling by the judge Huo Shaogang said the reports didn’t have the separate assessment on the air, which didn’t meet the requirements of research outline and technical memorandum of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
One of Zhu Qihua’s solicitors Huang Heming was glad about the ruling. Huang Heming said according to Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, environmental assessment should contain the impact on the environment to be known by the director and citizens. If the report didn’t meet the requirements, the director should reject it.
Huang Heming emphasized he understood the importance of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to the economic growth and regional integration, “But the government should not abandon the effective supervision like protecting the ecology and public interests through environmental assessment for the economic growth and regional integration.”
Some engineers worried that the suspension of the construction might increase the cost of the project by 5%. Some people in Legislative Council said the government should hold a bid in advance and award the areas to construct in phases to catch up with the inland construction and put into service on time.
Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau said they would study the ruling and its impact then consider how to deal with the relevant program problems according to the judicial requirements as soon as possible.
The spokesman said the bridge project met the standard of environment protection overall and 6 items of question of the 7 matters about environment protection in the judicial review were not accepted. The court judged because the government only provided the data of the impact of the project but not the data without the project.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge connected Hong Kong Lantau Island, Guangdong Zhuhai and Macau, which would be the longest cross-sea bridge in the world when completed. It cost over 70 billion Hong Kong Dollars and could be used for 120 years and resisting 8 magnitude earthquakes, whose construction was known as the world’s most difficult. The construction was started on December 15th, 2009.
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