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Tengah environmental study findings to be out soon

SINGAPORE — The environmental baseline study to be done at new housing estate Tengah is expected to be completed by the first half of this year, and its key findings would be made known to the public, the Ministry of National Development said of Singapore’s first housing estate dubbed a “forest town”.

Tengah environmental study findings to be out soon

Visitors to the HDB Hub looking at a model of the Tengah masterplan at the launch of a public exhibition to showcase the key planning concepts for Tengah, on Sep 9, 2016. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The environmental baseline study to be done at new housing estate Tengah is expected to be completed by the first half of this year, and its key findings would be made known to the public, the Ministry of National Development said of Singapore’s first housing estate dubbed a “forest town”.

Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for National Development, on Tuesday (April 4) addressed a question by Member of Parliament Louis Ng, who asked if the ministry could make public the results of environmental tests done in relation to the development of the new town.

Tengah sits on a green area linking the western part of Singapore to ecosystems in the Western Catchment Area and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. 

Mr Ng also asked if the Housing and Development Board (HDB) would do a more in-depth study or assessment on the environmental impact of the development, instead of a baseline study. 

Mr Lee said in Parliament that the baseline study was chosen because Tengah was made up of young secondary forests, scrubland, abandoned sundry cultivation — such as farms and orchards — as well as old brickworks demolished in 2008, and now used as a military training ground. 

On what the plans are for the wildlife now living in the area, Mr Lee said that the HDB would put in place wildlife management strategies, such as shepherding wildlife to adjacent forest areas that would not be developed in the short term, so as to minimise the impact on the animals when development works are carried out. 

This would not be the first time that the Government is making public the results of an environmental study on a major development project. Last year, due to strong public interest, the Land Transport Authority made the rare move of publishing online the first phase of an environmental impact assessment report on the new rail network, the Cross Island Line. 

The masterplan for Tengah was unveiled last September, and HDB said that town planners are setting up a 100m-wide, 5km-long forest corridor there that would link the Western and Central Catchment areas. 

Tengah, about the size of Bishan, is the first new public housing estate to be developed since Punggol two decades ago. It is touted by the Government to be a “green” town boasting a car-free town centre, a 20ha park as well as hiking trails. It is expected to be fully developed over 20 years, with public housing making up more than 70 per cent of the 42,000 new homes to be built there.

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