Ownership of underground space: Law Ministry to study other countries

The Law Ministry will look to the experiences of other countries in considering the ownership of underground space, as urban planners look into developing it more extensively.

Currently, the law assumes that the owner of the surface land also owns the underground space, "to a depth that is reasonably necessary for the use and enjoyment of the property", said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Monday in Parliament.

But she also noted that some countries allow owners of the surface land to have a "certain depth" of underground space for their use, while enabling deeper subterranean space to be used for underground projects.

She made these comments in response to a question by Mr Liang Eng Hwa, an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, about the Government's position on ownership of underground space.

This follows Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan's blog posting earlier this month that Singapore's underground space could be tapped for a range of uses such as transport hubs, cycling lanes, storage and research facilities as well as shopping areas. He had said his ministry was considering an underground equivalent of the Master Plan for land use, which is being updated.

Ms Indranee said her ministry will work with the industry and consider the experiences of other countries to arrive at a "sensible approach".

She said: "We will consult stakeholders and set up a sound framework for agencies to realise the vision of more space to live, work and play."

chinlian@sph.com.sg