An environmental group has criticised the government for allowing construction waste dumping and container storage in an area in the Tai Po green belt.

The group, Green Sense, told RTHK that an area of the green belt near the Hong Kong Institute of Education was razed and was being developed for storage and waste dumping. Green Sense fears that there are plans to turn the area into a brownfield.

The area is about nine football fields in size, according to Apple Daily.

Construction and storage in green belt area
Construction and storage within the green belt area.

Roy Tam Hoi-pong, Green Sense’s spokesperson, told RTHK that the area was incorporated into Tai Po’s green belt zone and government was ignoring breaches in zoning plans. The Planning Department could freeze development on lands that have not been incorporated into the Development Permission Area Plans, he said.

However, the Planning Department said to Apple Daily that it had no control over the matter since it was not part of the area plans. The Lands Department also told the newspaper that the property rights owner had not violated terms in the land lease, but it is investigating whether illegal structures are being built on part of the land.

“If the government went after land problems in the New Territories with as much enthusiasm as it did for the high speed rail link and land grabbing, there would not be so many landowners illegally using their land,” said Tam on Facebook.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.