Land the size of six football fields in a forest reserve was cleared by mistake. Here's a timeline of how it happened.

published: feb 24, 2021

How was Kranji woodland cleared by mistake?

March 2, 2020: Work begins

Land clearance begins for a 25Ha Agri-Food Innovation Park (Afip) park project. In this phase, three plots of land are to be cleared. This clearance was approved.

Aug 21, 2020: Key biodiversity study commissioned

NParks asks for a biodiversity study of the area, after a resubmitted plan by consultant CPG corporation shows a new drain that affects a nearby river, Sungei Pang Sua. This study would inform further land clearance.

Aug - Sep 2020: More land cleared

Here's where things become grey.
Four plots of land, around 2.8ha, are cleared. It's unclear if this was authorised.

Sep 29: New plan given conditional approval

Now, the resubmitted plan receives approval for tree felling, subject to conditions of the biodiversity study - which was not yet conducted.

Nov 2020: Partial approval

Then, CPG corporation, on Nov 3, asks for permission to clear four more plots of land. NParks approves only partial clearance of one plot. But by the next month, two plots, around 2.1ha, are cleared.

Dec 23: Biodiversity study starts

Some four months after the biodiversity study is commissioned, a consultant is engaged by JTC to conduct it. The study is expected to be completed in April this year. Meanwhile, land is still being cleared.

Dec 2020 to Jan 13: Unauthorised clearing

Contractor Huationg clears further plots of land amounting to 4.5ha, larger than the size of the Padang. These were not approved for clearance.

Jan 13: All work suspended

JTC discovers the further clearing and immediately suspends all work. About 13ha of vegetated land remains. JTC begins internal investigations and on Jan 15, issues a stern warning to Huationg.

Feb 16: Investigations continue

JTC releases a media statement acknowledging the "erroneous" clearing, saying the biodiversity study should have been completed before works began. The contractor also apologises. Investigations conducted by JTC and NParks remain underway.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing has ordered a review on inter-agency coordination.

The forested area cleared for the park is part of Kranji Woodland-Scrubland, spanning about 70ha.

A survey of the area found 47 species of birds - a mix of resident and migratory species - which account for 12 per cent of Singapore's total records.


SOURCE: ST REPORT BY Audrey Tan, Ang Qing. ST PHOTOS by kevin lim, ALPHONSUS CHERN. st videos; PHOTOS BY BRICE LI/FACEBOOK, JTC, NPARKS. videos by brice li/facebook. graphics by st graphics.