Talk of the town - environmental conversations in Singapore

There has been one thing dominating the environmental conversation in Singapore recently, and that is the Phase 1 Environmental Impact Assessment, or EIA, for the Cross-Island Line that was gazetted by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) on 5 February 2016. The assessment of environmental impacts relates to the site investigation works needed for a proposed alignment of a new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line that would run beneath part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and the MacRitchie Reservoir.

Cross Island Line could save commuters 40 minutes: LTA chief

SINGAPORE: The Cross Island Line that will stretch from Jurong to Changi could save commuters up to 40 minutes of travel time, said Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive Chew Men Leong.

The new MRT line, which is scheduled to be ready by 2030, has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks, over one possible option of running the line under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Some Singaporeans have even questioned the need for the line in the first place.

Arborists concerned over soil tests in MacRitchie

After going through the Environment Impact Assessment on soil investigations at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve at MacRitchie, plant expert Lahiru Wijedasa is concerned.

“The disturbance that might be caused by soil investigation is significant and if damage is caused, it will be irreparable,” the former senior arborist at the Singapore Botanic Gardens told The New Paper.

“The most damage from the soil investigations will be on the rare plants and old trees in MacRitchie, from the weight of the machines that will go into the area.”

Publish environmental impact studies as a matter of course

I refer to the report “Govt agencies may post environmental impact studies online in future” (Feb 27), which reported that after the unprecedented release online of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report by the Land Transport Authority, government agencies will consider doing the same for future reports. This is especially if there is significant public interest involved.

Volunteers to get enforcement powers to deal with ‘green’ offences

SINGAPORE — The amended Bill to provide community volunteers with greater enforcement powers to deal with environmental offences was passed in Parliament on Tuesday (March 1) — but not before almost all six Members of Parliament (MPs) who spoke on the issue voiced their concerns about the implications this might bring.

Their concerns included the possible abuse of power by the volunteers, who will be appointed as the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) auxiliary officers, and how greater policing might create a culture of antagonism among fellow citizens.

Key step needed in environment assessment process

I applaud the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for engaging various stakeholders regarding the Cross Island MRT Line ("Both possible alignments for CRL will be studied" by Mr Chew Men Leong of the LTA; Feb 22).

However, the letter showed a significant lack of understanding of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process, which has caused undue stress to residents, businesses and nature lovers.

Khaw says, LTA doesn’t know about the cost of the skirting option for Cross-Island Line yet

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) does not know the exact cost of the alternative option to run a 9km route skirting the nature reserve for the Cross Island Line (CRL), says Minister for Transport on Monday in Parliament.

This comes after the much-publicised claim that the alternative route for CRL would cost $2 billion. LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong had written in a letter to Straits Times on 22 February and said, “Besides land and home acquisitions that could affect families, the extra works could incur $2 billion more in expenditure,”

Why I am unsympathetic towards residents affected by the Cross Island Line

The planned construction of the new Cross Island Line across the Central Catchment Nature Reserve has triggered concerns from environmental organizations.

Calling for zero impact on the nature reserve, these groups have suggested an alternative route along Lornie Road. In response, the president of Yew Lian Park Residents’ Association, as the representative of affected residents in the area, opposed this suggestion on the grounds that these residents would lose their homes. [1] As long as we subscribe to pragmatism as a nation, this reasoning is unjustified.

Parliament: Nature reserve highly sensitive, but impact of site investigation works can be mitigated, says Desmond Lee

SINGAPORE - Site investigation works needed to determine how a train tunnel can be built under Singapore's largest nature reserve will have a "small" impact on the area, even though the reserve is deemed highly sensitive.

This is because stringent mitigating measures will be adopted, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee in Parliament on Monday.

This was the assessment of the environmental consultants hired to assess the environmental impact of preliminary works for the upcoming Cross Island Line MRT project on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.