Background and Objectives of Study
In mid-2014, the Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA) submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report of the proposed construction of the third runway in Hong Kong International Airport to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). In this report, an assessment of the impact of the proposed runway on the health of residents in the vicinity – a health impact assessment (HIA) study was performed.
HIA is a tool that quantifies the effects of adverse environmental risk factors on the health and wellbeing of a community. It has been widely used to assess the impact of a project or policy on health and assists the policy maker in the decision. HIA has been advocated in the past two decades, and has been incorporated in the legal framework in some European countries. In other European countries, even in the absence of legal requirements, HIA has been widely practised. The leading organization that has developed and standardized HIA methodology and practice is the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. Other countries, including the UK and New Zealand, develop guidelines and practice on their own, making reference to reports and recommendations published by WHO Regional Office for Europe. The US lags behind Europe in this development. Developing countries are now actively pursuing the concept of HIA, but most lack a legal framework for its implementation.
Based on the published HIA report, Dashun Policy Research Centre commissioned this study to compare the environmental health standards, the methodology used for HIA and the results of HIA studies on airport projects that have been conducted in different countries. The study was based on reports conducted by / in relation to major airports in other countries and available in the public domain.
The aim of this comparative study is to benchmark the Hong Kong study with airports in cities in developed countries, in terms of methods and standards used, and nature and magnitude of the health impact. The specific objectives are:
(i) to compare the methodology used in the HIA in different airports;
(ii) to compare the environmental standards used in different countries where the HIA reports are available, and
(iii) to compare the health impact of the Hong Kong study with study results in other airports.