1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) gazetted the report on the second phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), for the stretch of the underground Cross Island Line (CRL) in the vicinity of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), today.
2. A detailed and rigorous study was carried out by global specialist Environmental Resources Management (S) Pte Ltd (ERM)1 to address potential environmental impact of the construction and operational phases of the CRL. The EIA report makes recommendations on the mitigation measures and environmental management and monitoring plans that should be put in place for two possible underground alignment options.
3. The EIA (Phase 2) report can be found online and open to public feedback for one month. LTA will consider all relevant public feedback into the EIA report before seeking final approval from the Government.
EIA Comprehensively Assessed Environmental Impact for Both Underground Alignment Options
4. Two underground alignment options are currently being considered for the CRL in the vicinity of the CCNR - one that runs directly under and another that skirts around the CCNR. ERM assesses that the environmental impact for both options can be adequately managed with comprehensive mitigation measures and monitoring plans in place. The expected impact is largely confined to parts of the tunnel alignment and to the construction worksites outside the CCNR, and can be managed by robust mitigation measures. This can be achieved through locating the worksites as far as possible from the CCNR and the implementation of a comprehensive Environmental Monitoring and Management Plan (EMMP) to protect flora and fauna. This EMMP will also help to mitigate any disamenities to nearby residents.
5. An International Panel of Advisors (IPA), comprising industry experts in tunnelling and underground construction (Annex A), has also reviewed the engineering schemes for both underground alignment options. They have concluded that with control measures in place, tunnelling along either underground alignment option is safe.
Cross-sections of the two underground alignment options:
Continued Close Cooperation with Stakeholders
6. Since plans to build the CRL were announced in 2013, LTA has been engaging multiple stakeholders. They include nature groups, grassroots advisers, grassroots leaders and residents in the immediate vicinity to understand their needs and concerns. Where possible, we have incorporated their suggestions on additional mitigation measures into the EIA (Phase 2) report.
7. Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, Dr Lam Pin Min, said, "Transport is an indispensable part of our everyday life. Implementing a new train line is an important decision as it benefits many users and may impact many stakeholders. We embarked on this journey to consult representatives from nature and heritage groups, grassroots leaders and residents. Although it took us 6 years, our experience has been an enriching one. This whole process of listening to different views and coming together to understand their different perspectives has given a new meaning to consultation. Along the way, many friendships have also been forged. We value everyone's feedback and are grateful to all who have taken time to step forward to share their views, from the methodology of the EIA study to the eventual report. However, the journey does not end here. We will continue to work together to deliver a good transport network for all Singaporeans."
8. Dr Shawn Lum, President of Nature Society Singapore, said, "The LTA first approached members of the nature community for detailed discussions in June 2013, an engagement that continues today. The conversation between the LTA and nature groups has been a careful, considered, and cordial one. Over several "deep dive" sessions, we looked through potential impacts and proposed mitigation measures for construction along either of the two proposed CRL alignments. We sought to highlight potential environmental impacts as accurately and objectively as possible, with everyone committed to ensuring that the diversity and ecological integrity of CCNR is not impaired. Finding a way to carry out vital infrastructure work without diminishing our precious natural heritage remains important common ground to all of us. I am happy that the LTA is committed to implement the proposed mitigation measures proposed. We have had our questions and concerns heard, and look forward to the continuing conversation."
No Decision on Alignment Yet
9. The CRL is the eighth MRT line in Singapore. When completed, it will be the longest fully underground MRT line. No decision on the alignment option for the CRL in the vicinity of the CCNR has been made. In addition to the EIA findings, the Government will consider other factors, such as transport connectivity, travel times, costs, and impact on home owners and commuters, when deciding on the final alignment of the CRL.
10. LTA will mitigate the environmental impact of the chosen alignment, and put in place a robust EMMP as laid out in the EIA report. No surface works within the CCNR will be carried out should either underground alignment is chosen. The EMMP will also be further assessed and strengthened as the project progresses.
1 ERM, specialising in environmental, social, health, safety and risk management consulting services, has over 35 years of experience conducting impact assessments and more than 140 offices in 44 countries worldwide, ERM has undertaken multiple projects on environmental and biodiversity surveys in Singapore, as well as other major cities such as London and Hong Kong.