Plover Cove Country Park surrounds one of the enclaves conservationists say needs better protection. File photo: Shutterstock
The High Court ruled on Thursday that the Country and Marine Parks Authority was too quick to reject the idea of incorporating six enclaves into surrounding country parks and said the authority must look again at the case for such a move.
The judge said that when the authority decided against adding the enclaves to the parks, it had failed to take into account the ecological value of the sites.
The court ruling follows a judicial review initiated in 2014 by a founding member of the “Save Our Country Parks Alliance”, Chan Ka-lam.
She argued that the authority’s decision not to incorporate the enclaves of Hoi Ha, Pak Lap, To Kwa Peng, Pak Tam Au, So Lo Pun and Tin Fu Tsai into neighbouring country parks was unlawful, because the authority only relied on an assessment from the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation.
The first four enclaves are in Sai Kung, with So Lo Pun next to Plover Cove Country Park and Tin Fu Tsai surrounded by Tai Lam Country Park.
While he didn’t agree with all of the arguments Chan put forward, High Court Judge Thomas Au said it was true that the conservation and aesthetic value of the six enclaves had not been fully assessed.
Justice Au said the authority had to take these factors into account when coming to a decision on the matter for a second time.
The discovery of unauthorised excavation works in the Sai Wan enclave of Sai Kung in 2010 sparked a public outcry and conservationists have since been calling for more to be done to protect areas of high ecological value.