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Nature Society slams URA's land-use plan

URA's commitment to conservation negligible, it says

Published on Jan 8, 2014 8:23 AM
The Nature Society's 4.4 per cent figure includes nature reserves, which are protected from development by law, but excludes reservoirs as well as ''nature areas''. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The Nature Society (NSS) has taken issue with the Government's latest land-use draft masterplan, calling it "embarrassingly negligible" in its commitment to conserving biodiversity.

In a strongly worded document posted on its website last Friday, the society said that only 4.4 per cent of Singapore's projected 76,600ha land area in 2030 was seriously committed to preserving the country's wealth of plants and animals.

This falls well short of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which Singapore ratified in 1995. The UN recommended that by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas should be conserved.

A draft of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's masterplan, which guides land use over the next 10 to 15 years and is revised every five years, was unveiled last November. It will be finalised by June after taking in the public's feedback.

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Background story

Man and his  environment

THE Nature Society made several other recommendations in its response to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's draft land-use Master Plan, including:

  • Conserve more biodiversity-rich areas by turning them into nature parks accessible to the public
  • Require properties next to nature reserves and parks to blend environmentally with the habitats. For instance, by planting dense tree hedges to prevent light, sound and smell pollution from filtering into a forest and disturbing the animals. The hedges can also prevent monkey incursions
  • Make environmental impact assessments a must before developing a naturally green area 10ha or larger