‘Northern Metropolis will better protect ecosystem’

The Secretary for the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, says the government’s plan to develop the northern part of the territory will not undermine the ecosystem there.

Wong was speaking on Monday, days after Chief Executive Carrie Lam unveiled a proposal to build a 300-square-kilometre “Northern Metropolis” in the New Territories, covering large areas of farmland, wetland and brownfield sites.

Wong said the government will make sure the development is sustainable.

“We would resume wetland and fishponds that are worth preserving, so as to increase their ecological capacity. At present, many plots are lying idle, their ecological values depreciating. With the Northern Metropolis, it could be better handled in a positive way,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wong also said the plan to phase out the use of coal for power generation by 2035 is necessary and achievable, even though it sounds more ambitious than similar proposals in the UK and in Germany.

He said Hong Kong should shoulder the responsibility as a member of the “global village”, adding that details will be discussed with the two power companies in due course.