Mon, Apr 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

HSR plans to open stations despite setback

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS:The Yunlin HSR station was given only conditional approval and the EPA required more information on the Miaoli and Changhua stations

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) still plans to build stations in Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin counties this year despite a recent review by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) that only gave conditional approval to the project in Yunlin, the Bureau of High Speed Rail said.

An EPA task force conducting the initial review of the three projects gave only conditional approval to the HSR station in Yunlin at a meeting on Thursday after substantial improvements were shown in a land subsidence problem affecting the rail line.

The task force asked the project developer, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), to provide more information on the projects in Miaoli and Changhua.

The bureau said the THSRC was asked to submit plans to build a rainwater harvesting pool, a landscape pool and a detention pond near the construction site of the HSR station in Changhua.

The company was told it should also address wastewater treatment and conduct an ecosystem survey at the construction site as well.

As for the HSR station in -Miaoli, THSRC must provide information on the station’s impact on the ecosystem as well as its soil and water conservation facility.

The bureau said it has asked THSRC to submit all the requested information to the EPA by the end of this month, adding that the EPA has agreed to list the projects on the meeting agenda of the task force as soon as all the supplementary information is in place.

While some have expressed concern that the decision reached by the EPA’s task force might further delay the projects, which are scheduled to be completed by 2015, the bureau reiterated that it still aims to begin construction this year.

Meanwhile, Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Chu Shu (朱旭) said the government, which last year set up a cross--departmental group to address land subsidence, has reduced subsidence in three sections along the route, including Sijhou (溪州) in Changhua County, Huwei (虎尾) in Yunlin County and County Highway No. 158.

However, subsidence near Provincial Highway No. 78 has deteriorated, he said, but added that it has not affected the safety of the railway.

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