Measures in place to reduce impact on environment

 Artist's impression of future Tengah housing estate.
Artist's impression of future Tengah housing estate.PHOTO: HDB

We refer to the report (Dispute over key findings of Tengah environmental study; Jan 12).

The Housing Board is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its development works at Tengah.

Even before development started, HDB engaged an independent consultant to carry out an environmental study to document the conditions of the site.

The study found that most of the current vegetation in Tengah is from abandoned plantations, scrublands, and young secondary forests that comprise mostly non-native plants. These provide habitats for native animals.

Following the study, HDB created a town plan with features that will support a rich biodiversity within Tengah.

About 20 per cent of Tengah town - approximately 140ha - will be set aside for green spaces.

This includes a 50ha forest corridor that will be retained to provide a habitat for plants and animals, and will allow wildlife to move between the Western Catchment and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Native plants will also be reintroduced to enhance this corridor.

A naturalised stream that will run through part of the central park in the town will provide a lush home for native aquatic plants and animals.

Before any development works start, wildlife will be guided away from the site to nearby forests.

Plants of conservation value will be salvaged, and trees where birds are nesting will also be temporarily retained.

HDB has been engaging nature groups on the plans for Tengah, and sharing with them the findings from the environmental studies.

We will continue with these engagements, and will work with all stakeholders to fine-tune the plans for Tengah.

Chong Fook Loong (Dr)

Group Director (Research and Planning)

Housing & Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2019, with the headline 'Measures in place to reduce impact on environment'. Print Edition | Subscribe