Chief Executive Carrie Lam has dismissed the idea of reclaiming land in mainland waters, saying she has not heard of any plan by Beijing to make use of nearby islands it controls to create more housing for Hong Kong.
Last month, the Hong Kong Real Property Federation put forward the idea of reclaiming around 60 square kilometres of land around Zhuhai-administered Guishan, south of Lantau.
But in interviews with several pro-Beijing newspapers on Monday, Lam said such a proposal would sabotage the mainland's policies on the environment.
The CE – whose administration is pushing a HK$624 billion plan to build artificial islands near Lantau – said it would therefore be better to reclaim land in Hong Kong waters instead.
But she complained that it is much tougher to reclaim land nowadays compared to around the time of the handover, when people cared less about Victoria Harbour, the wetlands and conservation in general.
She added that because of the political climate and rising awareness about conservation, some people rail against government development plans, which causes delays.
Separately, Lam also said that Beijing is considering proposals she has put forward to speed up the recovery of the local aviation industry, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.