Skip to main content



Nature groups submit Cross Island Line working group’s report to LTA

SINGAPORE — Nature groups have submitted their ecological study of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).


Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — Nature groups have submitted their ecological study of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The LTA will use the study as a reference for consultants conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Cross Island MRT Line. The EIA will help LTA decide if the MRT line should pass through the nature reserve or skirt around it the reserve, which includes MacRitchie Reservoir, Upper Peirce Reservoir, Lower Peirce Reservoir and Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Spanning almost the entire length of Singapore, the 50km Cross Island Line was announced in January last year and is slated for completion in 2030.

The nature groups, which spent about three months collating available literature and research from the past 20 years on Singapore’s largest nature reserve, are calling for the protection of the forest area and are concerned about the possibility of the Line being built through it.

The study was done by seven environmentalists, some of whom are members of the Nature Society (Singapore), the Singapore Environment Council, and Cicada Tree Eco-Place.

The result is a 120-page document describing the extent of biodiversity in the reserve located in the central part of Singapore. The document has recorded about 400 species of trees, 200 species of birds, 400 species of insects and 150 species of mammals and amphibians.

The groups want to provide a realistic assessment of the impact of any physical works in the forests. They say the study will save the environmental consultants working on the EIA a lot of ground work.

“As soon as they come in they will have an appreciation immediately of what’s there,” said Mr Tony O’Dempsey of the Nature Society (Singapore). “They are off to a flying start with this document.”

“I think the agency has done a fairly good job of putting together the tender document, and the requirements that are in there, and we can expect some very high quality EIA consultants to tender for this project.”

An expert familiar with EIA matters said the consultants will need to have diverse expertise. “In addition to the technical aspects of engineering, the team should include at least some members who have environmental expertise — particularly in botany, the soil sciences, how it affects the plants, vegetation, the trees etc, to review the report,” said Professor Leung Chun Fai from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the National University Of Singapore.

With the study in hand, nature groups hope to convince the consultants and authorities to preserve the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

“The nature reserve is like the green heart in the red dot, and every time there is a project around the edge and through the nature reserve, it takes a small bite out of the apple,” said Mr O’Dempsey. “And if you take lots of small bites you are going to consume the whole apple after a while.”

The LTA said the nature groups’ study together with the earlier position paper by the Nature Society (Singapore) will be incorporated into the EIA tender.

They will also serve as useful resources for the EIA consultant in studying how the various alignment options could affect the nature reserve. The LTA is expected to call the EIA tender by next month.

The assessment is expected to be completed in 2016, and this will be followed by an 18-month engineering feasibility study on the possible routes. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Read more of the latest in




Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.