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LTA releases environmental impact assessment report on Cross Island MRT line

SINGAPORE — In a rare move on Friday (Feb 19) due to strong public interest, the Land Transport Authority posted online the first phase of a report on the environmental impact of a rail line development, more than a week after opening it for public inspection.

About 100 people attended the talk by Nature Society (Singapore) about the Cross Island Line Environmental Impact Assessment at its office on Feb 19, 2016. Photo: Neo Chai Chin

About 100 people attended the talk by Nature Society (Singapore) about the Cross Island Line Environmental Impact Assessment at its office on Feb 19, 2016. Photo: Neo Chai Chin

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — In a rare move on Friday (Feb 19) due to strong public interest, the Land Transport Authority posted online the first phase of a report on the environmental impact of a rail line development, more than a week after opening it for public inspection.

This was in response to public feedback, the LTA stated on Facebook as it announced the move, which was welcomed by nature lovers.

The first phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report detailed the effects that site investigation work for the future Cross Island MRT line would have on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The LTA is studying the soil and rock profiles of two alignment options for the future MRT line, one of which will cut under the nature reserve for about 2km.

Before it was put online, five physical copies of the EIA report had been available for inspection at LTA by appointment.

At the same time on Friday, about 100 people braved the rain and turned up for a talk on the environmental impact of the Cross Island Line on the nature reserve — of which MacRitchie is a part — held at the office of the Nature Society (Singapore) in Geylang.

Mr Leong Kwok Peng, vice-president of the society, said it exceeded their expectation that just 70 to 80 people would attend the talk. Nature Society council member Tony O’Dempsey spoke about the engagement process between the nature community and LTA so far, and said this dialogue would continue into the second phase of the report.

He told TODAY after the talk: “One thing I really like is that we’ve had an objective and frank discussion lacking in emotion with the agencies… That was a real step ahead and I think that’s a model for future engagement.”

Mr O’Dempsey also explained the society’s “zero-impact” policy, believing that the various projects taking place at different times near the reserve could have cumulative impact — or “death by a thousand cuts”, as he put it.

Another public talk about the Cross Island Line and the EIA report will take place next Thursday (Feb 25) at SingJazz club in Jalan Sultan.

Among those who attended the talk on Friday were Secondary 4 student Wei Qining and Mr Chen Dexiang, who recently returned to Singapore after completing his master’s degree in conservation management in the United Kingdom.

Qining, 16, is on Nature Society’s mailing list and said she found the topic of the talk interesting. Although she has not been to the MacRitchie forest, she wants to get more involved in environmental work. “Singapore doesn’t have lot of forest left,” she said.

Mr Chen, 30, said he used to work on EIA reports as a project consultant and is looking for avenues to contribute, for the Government and the people to make a better decision on the Cross Island Line. He hopes to start a blog and share more about the EIA process. “I enjoy nature and also hope people will appreciate what we have now,” he said.

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