With an area of some 300 square kilometres, the proposed Northern Metropolis covers the Yuen Long and North districts. It encompasses current towns such as Tin Shui Wai and Fanling and neighbouring rural areas, as well as new development areas under planning or construction such as Kwu Tung North/Fanling North and San Tin/Lok Ma Chau.
She said the Northern Metropolis will be developed into an international IT hub.
“Proposed individual development projects together with the surrounding rural and conservation areas will be integrated in an innovative and organic manner conducive to upgrading the entire region to a metropolitan area,” the chief executive said.
Lam also stressed the need for conservation. She said the ecological functions of around 2,000 hectares of conservation area, including the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, will be enhanced.
The chief executive said an additional 600 hectares of land could be developed in the new metropolis to provide up to 186,000 new residential units.
Government sources said those 600 hectares could involve wetlands and buffer areas.
Sources said officials would review if procedures, such as ecological assessments, can be relaxed when it comes to the development of buffer areas.
In all, the region could offer up to 926,000 homes and be home to 2.5 million people in future.
And the number of jobs in the area will rise from 116,000 right now to 650,000.
“With as many as seven land‑based boundary control points, the Northern Metropolis will be the most important area in Hong Kong that facilitates our development integration with Shenzhen and connection with the Greater Bay Area,” she said.
At a press conference on the policy address, Lam explained that northern New Territories was chosen because it has not been fully developed yet, and that the development of the Northern Metropolis and nearby Shenzhen would result in a win-win situation.
“Of course in Hong Kong there will be people disagreeing with anything we want to do… but at the end of the day, common sense prevails,” she said.
“Do we want Hong Kong to move forward? If we want then, the government has to be far more decisive and determined in order to press ahead with the various developments despite some objections.”
Lam also dismissed fears about the impact of the Northern Metropolis on public coffers, saying the search for land for housing generates revenue.
Last updated: 2021-10-06 HKT 17:38